My best friend since elementary school recently posted a couple of pics on Facebook of some monarch caterpillars. As you may have guessed.... I kind of have a thing for caterpillars- especially after spending so much time with them last summer at the Hershey Gardens butterfly house. Soooooo I've been wanting to paint some more 'pillars for a while now. After I saw this picture last week, I couldn't get it out of my head and the deal was sealed. It's been so long since I did anything art-y...
I HAD TO START SKETCHING.
After about 6 renditions, here's what I came up with:
I thought it would be best to keep the painting small as I don't have a TON of time to do anything too big and involved. PLUS I have a new technique that I want to try and really don't want to go experimenting with a big ol' expensive canvas!
I've had these two really nice 6"x8" canvases for a while that have just been sitting in a closet on a shelf where I see them ALL the time, but never had any ideas for them. They were given to me as gifts and 6"x8" isn't an "off the shelf" easy-to-find-frame-size, so I knew I'd have to paint something on them that wouldn't need a frame. Since I have two of them, I figured I would keep the two odd-sized canvases together and always assumed I'd use them for some kind of diptych. That seemed perfect for this project AND I love the idea of eventually doing a bunch of caterpillar paintings so why not do..... A CATERPILLAR DIPTYCH!
Cause we all know TWO are better than one! :)
I began working on ideas for the 2nd composition and made sure to arrange it so that the plants between on the two canvases didn't connect perfectly, but it would be enough to show they are meant to go together. Thus it can be hung vertically or side-by-side, and it won't matter which is on the right or left.
So... the new technique I mentioned.
Here you can see something I started last summer in my "30 Bugs in 30 Days" series, when I decided the background didn't have to be 100% photo-realistic ALL THE TIME, and for the first time I played around with bright colors and more imaginative effects.
There's a 2nd part of the new technique that I'm going to play around with on this one, too...
The leaves that are painted green here are probably pretty much done. Usually I'd blend them more into the background in a fuzzy way, the way a camera lens might if this was a photo. This time I'm going for something more illustrative- not necessarily catroony, but definitely not realistic either. I want to see what happens if I do some layers throughout the painting and these leaves are the furthest away, so they'll be close in color to the background and have no detail on them (but keep the sharp edges). I'll do some light coats of the background-yellow over them to blend them in a little more. As I work toward the foreground, I'll add more and more detail. I'm hoping to paint the caterpillar and leaves with as much detail as possible to really put the focus onto them. We'll see how it goes.
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I've recently discovered that I'm not a hoarder after all. Like most artists, I have a decent stash of blank canvases put away just waiting for a creative moment. A lot were given to me as gifts; some I got when a local store went out of business and had canvases on sale, so I picked up unusual shapes that are harder to find at the big box art/craft stores.
When I pulled the little 6"x8" canvases down off the shelf, at first I thought I had 3 of them as there were 3 canvases all stashed together and from the side they were all the same size. I immediately considered doing a triptych, but found the 3rd canvas was actually 6"x12" (which is a pretty fun size to work with) so I put it away to save for another day.
I kept thinking about that canvas being 6" wide, the same as these, just sitting there up on that shelf. Today became "another day" when I decided it would make a perfect and really interesting long, skinny triptych with these caterpillars. When I showed my husband my idea, he arranged the canvases in yet ANOTHER cool and interesting way (cause he's an engineer and that's what they do) which made me even more excited about the project, since my slight hesitation was that if someone fell in love with all 3 canvases, would they be just happen to have the right long skinny wall to hang all 3 of them on???
Check it out:
I love this idea because I can paint them subtly enough to "go together," but no matter how they end up being hung they'll still have a nice flow between them. Of course, each of these can work as a stand-alone painting and I'll especially keep that in mind for the long one in the center. Then they can be placed in different spots throughout a room- or if all 3 don't end up being purchased together (sad!!), it won't look lonely :)