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  • Writer's pictureHilda Van Netten

The Process

Grandchildren are a delight. When our first grandchild arrived, I painted a portrait of him...... twice.

For the chalk-pastel painting below, I used a photo reference from my son-in-law. I changed the background verticals, but other than that, just tried to paint what I saw in the photo.

As he grew, he remained a fascination for us. Below is another portrait, also done in chalk-pastels. For this one, I also changed the background, so the windows looked like a frame. But, again I pretty well left him looking like the reference photo, this time mine.

Meanwhile, a grand daughter arrived. Again, I was inspired by a photo I'd taken in a park in Toronto with her other grandma.

This painting was a serious challenge. Painting two portraits is twice the 'fun'. Painting 3 1/2 hands multiplied the 'fun'. I learned a lot about using tone in chalk-pastels to achieve texture while working on this one.

Two more grandchildren were born since then. Don't know what's happened, but even though they are the sweetest little girls you ever met, human nature has taken over and they aren't quite as fascinating to me. Time to remedy that!

I've been waiting for inspiration for a month or two now. I usually let inspiration come to me rather than go looking for it. Well, inspiration has officially arrived.... in two forms.

1. I took a series of classes taught by local artist Simon Jensen where he taught us to look at the world differently when designing a painting. He took us through a series of exercises which forced creativity. I loved the classes. So much fun!!!

2. I received photos of grandchild #3 that exuded her character. I also received photos of her artistic masterpieces.

I decided to combine both inspirations in my next painting.

Photoshop is a wonderful help in arranging images and thoughts. I roughly lassoed the photo of Charlie and then lassoed parts of one of her latest paintings. I re-sized them and arranged them behind and in front of her. This is going to be my reference photo for my next challenge. And, the craziest thing is that I think I need to do it in watercolours. I've never painting a child's skin in watercolours.

Below is my new reference photo. (Wish me luck!)

So, now that I've said I'm doing this, I need to get started.

I'll be posting progress here in the coming months.

BTW, Simon Jensen is offering a new session of The Artist's Sketchbook starting soon. Here is a link.

Oh, and my next drawing workshop will be on Saturday, April 13 at The Painted Tree in beautiful downtown Cobourg. Call the store to register and make your deposit. Looking forward to this workshop. It's always fun because our artists always go home with skills they never knew they had.

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