Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New painting WIP 1

I thought it was about time I let you see the progress of, and read the thoughts behind my next painting. I get so caught up in the early stages sometimes. My reference photo was one I snapped a couple weeks ago. We were at the air show again while my son was volunteering. While everyone was looking up at the sky I was having such fun quietly observing their emotions and facial expressions. I took a lot of photo’s.

One child in particular caught my attention. While everyone else was staring upwards this child was staring out at the lake totally oblivious to the people around and all the noise above. This is a close up of the child's face in my painting as it is so far. I love the close up effect of this crop but in my actual painting I wanted to convey more space of the big wide world around.

 Children often lose themselves in their dreams. They have a lot to process as they take in all the new sights, smells and sounds around them. Dreaming whether they are day dreams like this child or dreams while sleeping are an important way to process all the information which, in turn creates their ambitions and desires as well as many other emotions sometimes unfortunately even negative ones.

This idea was just too good an opportunity to miss for a painting. 

We try to protect our children but however hard we try there will be some things that have a negative impact on them. It is for this reason that I decided to include a dream catcher in my painting. I wanted this child’s dreams, like all young children’s day dreams to be good ones.

 According to Native American folklore a hoop of willow, decorated with bits and pieces of everyday life, (feathers, arrow heads, beads, etc) will help to protect a young child from negative dreams. The dream catcher, if allowed to swing freely in the air, is believed to have the power to catch all of a person's dreams night or day, trapping the bad ones, and letting only the good dreams remain.

The photo above is of the whole painting as I can see it while painting. I tend to paint slightly more than I actually want to make matting and framing easier. It also gives me a little more freedom to play with final cropping. The final crop will definitely be less than this. I'm in two minds about whether to crop in a little more than I originally intended though. I will wait and see as the painting takes shape. Painting is such a dynamic process isn't it!

So far I have kept to a pretty limited palette. Maybe it is the end of the day or maybe it is the beginning of a new one. I will leave that up to the viewers imagination. Normally I would complete the background first but although I have painted in the background washes I just felt the need to paint the child’s face before completing background and the fence to help me feel more of the atmosphere and emotion in the painting.

I haven't decided on a title for this painting yet. I quite like 'The Dream Keeper' as this is the title of a poem I found which seems to sum up at least part of the idea behind the painting

Bring me all of your dreams,
You dreamers,
Bring me all of your
Heart melodies
That I may wrap them
In a blue-cloud cloth
Away from the too-rough fingers
Of the world.
~~Langston Hughes~~

I'm still open to other ideas though. Anyone have any other ideas?



  1. Hi Ona,
    I just started following your blog. This piece like many others in the past, is fabulous. I'm curious about how you paint your backgrounds. There are no streaks or harsh lines. The colours blend in so perfectly yet they are translucent. How do you do this?
    -The Daydreamer

  2. Thank you Carol

    Hi Daydreamer, I glaze them wet on wet a single pigment at a time and wait for the paint to dry between glazes. It takes time but its such fun watching it develop.

  3. I always know when I open your blog that I will see exceptional work. What appeals to me most is not only your ability to paint such marvelous skin tones and create realistic work but, your ability to instill in each piece such expression, emotion. I'm looking forward to see this work progress.

  4. This is another winner, Ona... portraits are definitely your niche!

  5. Thank you Char. Yes, I do LOVE painting portraits. There is just something special about bringing a person to life in a painting.