Bunny and Teddy in Kimono

Today I would like to share and write about another challenging painting whilst following Juliette Crane’s Serendipity I classes. I’m now on the Lesson 3 “Finding Inspiration in Past Work”. What I love about her classes is how she helps us loosen up and freely experiment with various mediums to create something cute and whimsical. So how about a Japanese-style summer theme? To be honest, that was totally unplanned. Intuitive art can be so powerful!

The Beginning

Paper used was an A3-size Canson’s Mixed Media paper which I taped on the edges to avoid warping. This time, I began with stencils which I had not used in ages. Always a pleasure coming back to stuff and realising why hadn’t been using them more often! Here I used some gold paint to make stenciled patterns, followed by randomly finger-tapping on some quinacridone magenta and fluorescent yellow ink. A space was deliberately left open to easily paint the characters’ faces in. But which characters will I paint, I think I pretty know what I had in mind.

Bunny and Bear

The sky was firstly colored in with some Marine Blue. Seeing that this lesson calls for getting inspired by past work, I went for two whimsical animals typical in my paintings. Little One certainly features in much of my work but as she is seen in quite a few from my Juliette Crane classes, I thought it would be a good chance to do something different. And she doesn’t mind taking a little break anyway! After gluing on a few tissue collages (some scraps from the past too), I further went on and added more stencilled flowers using Emerald Green gouache, followed by splatters of fluorescent pink ink. Then I penciled in my characters before testing out the colors, combining of Antelope Brown, Quinacridone Azo Nickel Gold and Titanium White.

Further Developments

For some crazy reason, I decided to make the bunny a bit like a little girl (Little One) disguised in a rabbit outfit with the long pink ears, rather than cover the entire head in pink. And why not? Perhaps I was afraid that the rabbit would be overwhelmed by the pink. It turned out rather well though, especially when I painted in the eyes. As for Teddy, I felt her face was too round so I camauflaged it a bit by adding a flower, a piece craft-punched origami paper, on the edge. It was then that I decided to make their outfits more like Kimonos rather than plain robes. To make that further pronounced, I extended Teddy’s body by adding another piece of blue collage paper. More gold stenciled flowers were added around the Bunny, and some Emerald gouache was finger-tapped on the bottom to blend in with the flowers.

Finishing Touches

It took quite a few adaptations before getting the painting to my liking. These included playing down the black part of the sky firstly with some white then once dry topping up with more Marine Blue. Bits and pieces of collages were further added such as Japanese-language newspaper clippings and origami paper. To soften the appearance, I then tapped on a thin layer of white gesso with my fingers. The collars of the Kimonos were colored in with metallic shades to add some “bling” despite it not being very “Japanese”. To add a bit more accent, I carefully splattered on more fluorescent pink ink. A bit of white was then smudged around the outlines of the characters for that “halo” effect so they pop out more. Finally to further complete the painting, I lined some areas with glitter glue (collars) and a glued a silver sequin on Bunny’s hat. I was generally happy with the outcome of the painting, but one thing I might keep in mind in future is not to make the heads quite so round. But still, the piece is kawaii so I’ll leave it for now.

Following Juliette Crane’s classes is so much fun! Like many of the mixed media classes, though, it could be a bit heavy and challenging at times since you go beyond your comfort zone and need to work intuitively. Another hurdle worth surpassing is trying not to imitate the instructor and get disappointed because the result is “not as good” as hers. Finding your own style is part of the learning process, whilst these classes are meant to develop your creativity. I must say the session worked out well in the end and can’t wait to proceed to the next lesson soon!

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