Precious Gift

So wonderful to be back painting again! Had a rather hectic past few weeks with all the clear out and home improvements but now things are quieting down a bit, giving me more ample time to pursue all my hobbies again. I’ve even began resuming Juliette Crane’s Serendipity I classes, and here I would like to share this kawaii mixed media piece from her next lesson “Overcoming Creative Blocks”. Today, a special yet emotionally touching painting based on a national tragedy as to be explained later.

The Inspiration

Juliette’s lesson is about what to do when you are in a creative rut and need some inspiration. We look back at our past paintings or doodles in our sketchbooks for some inspiration. In my case, I came across an old sketch I did a few years ago called “And Every Child Got a Rabbit!“, based on a true and sad story about the 1953 floods in Zeeland, the North coast of the Netherlands. A nasty rainstorm wiped out whole villages and claimed hundreds of lives whilst destroying homes. When it was over, though, Queen Juliana visited the area to pay her respects and offer sympathy. As added gesture, all the surviving children got a rabbit each! How sweet. Such a touching story it brought tears to my eyes. And away I went doodling my thoughts on my sketchbook as to what a kind queen she was and how chuffed the children were.

Developing Ideas

Some months ago, I began a painting by grabbing an odd canvas board on which I’ve been using as a mixing palette and cleaning excess ink on. Some collage papers were glued on as you can see. I never got around to continuing where I left off as got busy so it got cast aside. Then I thought this would be a great chance to make some use of it! This is also what Juliette Crane would have done but for this lesson she went for an old painting she no longer liked. Another of her useful tip is to sketch with a willow charcoal stick which can easily be rubbed off if which is handy. Although my initial thought was to sketch “The Kind Queen” holding the rabbit to give to the kids, I suddenly came up with the idea of painting Little One as one of the kids instead with bunny ears on her head! Amazing how our creative mind develops.

Let’s Get Painting!

And now I went ahead and added more collages of colored wrapping tissues including some pink, green and orange. How about an orange sunset effect too? An orange circle was then cut out. Still not too keen about the mark from the thick collage paper underneath it but we can fix that later. Now the head: Cut out a circle from a Japanese newspaper page before coloring it in with the usual blend of Titanium White and Quinacridone Azo Nickel Gold (Golden Fluid Acrylic) and painting the hair in Antelope Brown (Daler Rowney Acrylic Ink) Next the sky: I went for some Golden Fluid Acrylic here, a mixture of Titanium White and Manganese Hue Blue along with a bit of Cobalt blue. Notice how the pink underneath still shows through, giving this somewhat mysterious sun-set effect. So far liking it!

Getting Grounded

The ground was colored by a combination of Titanium White, Sap Green, Green Gold and Titan Green as I played around with them until I was happy with it. Then to balance the composition better and furthermore to enhance the Dutch-ness of the theme, a few tulips were introduced. Outlined first with some black marking pencil then filled in with some baby pink acrylic paint. Speaking of the Dutch theme, I colored the dress in orange as it is the national color symbolizing the Royal Family. Luckily it matches the orange sun too, and how sweet is that! To get it to pop out more though, I went for ARA’s fluorescent orange. Titanium white was then used for the bunny and Little One’s bunny ears.Then I covered up the unwanted mark on the sun with a sticker of a rabbit (gift wrap sticker) and tapped some gold paint around it. Now it’s all coming together!

Finishing Touches

At this point, I decided to experiment with a new product I have been dying to try since Juliette uses it a lot: Shiva Oil Paint Sticks! Ordered some on Amazon and they finally arrived at the beginning of the month. The olive green and light blue were firstly tried out for the ground and sky, and I was amazed how smooth they run on the surface, leaving good even coverage. It certainly helped smooth out the patchy bits so the painting looks more “put together”. I also like that, unlike oil pastels, they dry within 24 hours and leave no residue. I’ll be using that more often! And now going back to Little One, her eyes were filled in with some Amsterdam Acrylic paint markers in that pretty turquoise blue with the lashes firstly lined with markers then traced over with some bronze glitter glue by Ranger’s Stickles. And now!

And doesn’t Little One look so adorable holding a little rabbit? She loves bunnies! Despite my busy schedule I had so much fun with this painting as it helped me unwind after a long day. It was also wonderful to go back to Juliette’s Crane’s classes again and finally have the time to resume my long-waited lessons. Following classes like hers really get me inspired and my creative juices flowing. And this has further inspired me to go take a step ahead from my original idea which, however, I still want to pursue. Let’s go for it!

Please click here for more about Juliette Crane and her amazing classes!

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