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Bears at a stream

The other day my brother and his wife were in a shop looking for baby clothes. They came across a design printed on a bed frame that they fell in love with. It was a simple line drawing showing two bears fishing at a stream. They took a picture and asked me if I could recreate something like it for my nephew. bears_stream_orig-I thought the picture was cute, but a bit simple for my taste. When I imagined it in the baby’s room I saw more color, more energy and a story behind it. Therefore I ended up making a painting from the original idea. Using the same basic drawing, but adding my little twist.

bear_strem_painting

A twist that was actually the end result of a little accident. My brush fell out of my hand and delivered a nice brownish spot at the edge of a once pristine pond. By the time I got my rag to try and wipe it off it was set firm on the paper. After deliberating even starting over I ended up adding a fish as a punchline: he sure is the one having the last laugh.

bear_strem_painting_fish

For the paining I used acrylic paint on watercolor paper. Afterwards accented with colored pencil to deepen the colors. add contrast, dimension and life to the picture.

With love to Henrik!

 

 

 

Up, up and away!

Nothing compares to the the thrill one experiences when coming up with a new idea, a design. Will it work? Does it make sense at all? And then all those butterflies when you try to put that theory into practice. I think the first mishaps, the curses you utter are those that will remain in your memory forever. And then comes the time to make replicas. And somehow this becomes as (insert hyphens in the air) exhilarating as copy and pasting data from one document to the other all day long.

OK, by the second plane I had the groove. I knew how to hold the felt, what is the best way to glue on the windows so its not going to interfere with the sewing. I felt I developed, hey, even mastered the technique! I was on top of my game! By the third one I expected to feel like going down a downward spiral and to completely loose the excitement. And come the fourth, I was convinced I’d be crying tears of frustration. But I could not have been more mistaken. All along I had that little bug inside me, and the thrill I experienced just grew with every stitch. I could not wait for it to be ready and to see the reaction of my nephew!

airplane mobileThe end result is exactly what I had in mind! The planes are bright and colorful. They share the same pattern, but just like in real life, each one is slightly different. One has an extra stitch here, a little loop that just would not twist the right way, but that is what adds to the flavor. And then there are the white fluffy clouds. With their subtltly they give just the right amount of contrast to the design. airplane mobileHenrik was really cautious. He first eyed this strange thing. Then with his little pointy finger poked at the planes, then the clouds. As we gave the mobile a twirl he watched it with his bright little eyes. After some minutes of playing with it he grabbed hold of a plane and gently gave it a little kiss. Then the next. And the next. That was when I started crying. airplane mobile in roomSo the little planes are now with their rightful owner – excuse me! – pilot. They look so cute above his little bed and next to the bear paintings I made for him earlier. I am happy that he is surrounded by so many colors and pictures. That these should be ones that I made make me really proud. There is just one thing that worries me. The little guy seems to be so engrossed with the little planes that when they are above his head he will not sleep. I was right, this love for the planes runs in the family!

Bunny on a sailboat

Remember the storybook-like feeling the Bears at a stream gave me? Well, I felt it needed a final touch. One more picture. At the end three paintings will look much better on the wall then just two, right?

So I went back to the theme of the little bear and the bunny. This time to the shore of the stream. I wanted to make this painting a bit more busy then the previous two,  with more detail. However, did not want to take away anything from the fun aspect of the predecessors.

bear_bunnyboat.

The left side of the paining came together quite quickly. I knew I wanted something in the water, so naturally a little boat came to my mind. A pirate ship would have been too much, so I decided on a sail boat. And of course, the little bunny had to be the captain, the focal point once more.

The detail on the right however was a bit of  a debate for me. I knew I wanted a plant, but was not sure what exactly. At the end opted for a little family inside joke: there always has to be a mushroom shaped ornament on the Christmas tree for luck, so why not a mushroom on the painting! Right?

bear_bunnyboat.mushroom

… and the little bear spotted a kite

After painting Bears at a stream for my nephew I felt so inspired! I knew there was more to the story then just the fishing expedition. It sort of felt like a little storybook that I opened unawares in an antiques shop: I saw the first glimpse and I knew I wanted more. Especially after seeing him for the first time!

For me the focal point, the star of the first painting was the bunny. It was quietly sitting in the middle, but stealing the show none the less. I wanted therefore to incorporate it into the new picture for sure. And then suddenly I saw it: the little buddies lying lazily in the grass, having fun and looking up at the sky.

Lots of ideas came to my mind as to what they might be looking at: beautiful lazy clouds, a hot air balloon, maybe a plane. My husband was the one who told me as a matter of fact that they cannot be spotting anything else but a kite in the sky. Of course, a kite!

bear_kitebear_kite_strawberryI used the same technique as before for the paining. A low acid watercolor paper was the base for the acrylic wash. I accented then with colored pencils for depth and dimension. Afterwords went back with more acrylic paint where needed, especially for the strawberry seeds.

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