Honeymoon in Paris

This is the second of the three commissioned paintings I did for Merna, who requested them as a gift for her fiance Senan’s 30th birthday. [See the first one here, in case you missed it]

In my post Cheating – Part 1, the first point I mentioned is how I don’t sketch out my paintings in advance, and always just start with a background, then worry about the foreground later. Well, not sure what was going through my head this day (the insane heat wave maybe???), but I decided it was a good idea to draw the Eiffel Tower in all its detailed glory first and then start painting.

It probably took me a solid 2 hours to draw everything on the canvas, since this actually required a ruler and some planning. People recognize the Eiffel Tower…can’t just go with the flow for it unfortunately! As soon as I started painting I realized I’m incapable of painting inside the lines and I painted over my whole sketch! Lesson learned. I have a system. Stop trying to fight it.

I started with a somewhat abstract background
You can see some of the remaining sketch marks of the Eiffel Tower…

This resulted in having to re-draw everything once the background dried. Ie. the way I normally paint! I could have entirely skipped that first round of drawing (and saved 2 hours of my time) if I just went with what I intuitively knew works for me…

Dabbled with the background a little more
Dabbled with the background a little more

Then it was time to redraw the Eiffel Tower.

Then started redrawing the Eiffel Tower...
It was slightly faster the second time around, luckily.

I proceeded to give it some color.

paris4
Finally starting to look recognizable

Next was the part I enjoy the most, just cleaning everything up and making it look like the image I had imagined in my head from the beginning.

The fun part, adding details to everything
Let there be light!!!

This painting is meant to be another scene from Merna and Senan’s honeymoon (which hasn’t taken place yet) however this one was slightly less challenging since she wanted it to be of them looking at the Eiffel Tower. For starters, we all know what the Eiffel Tower looks like, and I only had to paint them from behind, admiring it.

Insert lovely couple <3
Insert lovely couple <3

 And the final finished painting!

Merna and Senan at the Eiffel Tower - 18x24" - Acrylic on Canvas
Merna and Senan at the Eiffel Tower – 18×24″ – Acrylic on Canvas
Zoomed in view of the Eiffel Tower
Zoomed in view of the Eiffel Tower
Zoomed in view of Merna and Senan
Zoomed in view of Merna and Senan
And here it is displayed in my home
And here it is displayed in my home

 

And lastly, a side view, where you can see the painting is extended along the edges.
And lastly, a side view, where you can see the painting is extended along the edges.

And that’s that! I really enjoyed painting this one, since I really love Paris. I went there back in 2007 after a cycling trip through the Loire Valley in France and I remember not really caring much about going to Paris since I assumed it was overrated and touristy. Well, I ate my words. It’s worth all the hype it gets, in my opinion. Have you ever been to Paris? What did you think?

Alright Merna and Senan, I’m looking forward to a picture from your honeymoon in this exact same pose! Usually the honeymoon comes first, then the painting of it, but since we’re working backwards here, you guys have a mission to recreate this scene 🙂

This painting was commissioned so it is obviously sold, however, be sure to check out my other paintings, prints (NEW!!), and information about commissioning your own painting here

Do you Like me on Facebook yet? If not, go here! Among other things, you’ll get behind the scene updates of paintings I’m working on.

Merna and Senan at a French Cafe

A few months ago, Merna contacted me to request a commissioned painting to gift to her fiancé for his 30th birthday.  Her request was an interesting one. She wanted three separate paintings, each one of her fiancé and her at a different spot where they will be honeymooning. The tricky part was that the honeymoon hadn’t happened yet, so I didn’t have any exact photos to go by… and also that the three paintings were completely different locations but needed to have some kind of flow so they could be displayed together. I decided I was up for the challenge though! One of the locations she requested was at a French cafe.

merna

After a very extensive Google image search, and looking through random peoples engagement photos for ideas, I decided to use this profile picture of them (from their engagement photos) and somehow crop them into a patio at a French cafe.

I started with a deep red background on an 18x24" canvas
I started with a deep red background on an 18×24″ canvas
Then did a rough outline of Merna and Senan and a couple of background items with white chalk
Then did a rough outline of Merna and Senan and a couple of background items with white chalk
Next I started to roughly add some color into the background
Next I started to roughly add some color into the background
Then gave the lovely couple some skin and clothes. So attractive eh?
Then gave the lovely couple some skin and clothes. So attractive eh?

It’s usually around this point that I get discouraged with my paintings. I know in my mind what I want it to look like and I know that it will eventually get there, but looking at a painting like this simply makes me cringe. Luckily, this was a commissioned painting with a due-date for the client, so I forced myself to putter along. There was probably a good week between the above photo and the one below though, as I really needed the deadline pressure to motivate me to keep going.

Okay, so they're starting to look a little better now.
Okay, so they’re starting to look a little better now.
I added the coffee mug to set the scene a little better. And spruced up Senan's suit.
I added the coffee mug to set the scene a little better. And spruced up Senan’s suit.
Next I worked on the background a little bit.
Next I worked on the background a little bit. Insert milk, flowers, and a patio railing.
Then gave Merna some eyes and hair, as well as continued with the background.
Then gave Merna some eyes and hair, which she notified me was now longer than in the picture I was going by. So I “grew” her hair. I also continued dabbling with the background.
Merna notified me that her hair is now a lot longer than it was in the picture I was going by, so I "grew" her hair.
I gave Senan a face, finally. And Merna also told me that Senan has shaved his head since the engagement photo I was going by, so that meant I didn’t have to worry about painting more hair. Bonus.

 

Now we’ve reached the point where I truly have a smile on my face while painting. It’s finally starting to look like what I had imaged all along and I simply continue painting adding in details. It’s at this point when I’ll actually send photos to friends/family asking them for input about what to change/fix.

 

I played up some details and added some high and low lights, but nothing too major.
I played up some details and added some high and low lights, but nothing too major.
And finally, got to the finished painting! Notice Merna's rings? The wedding is next week but this is a painting of their future honeymoon :)
And finally, got to the finished painting! Notice Merna’s rings? The wedding is next week but this is a painting of their future honeymoon 🙂
The painting is on a 1.5" thick canvas and is extended along the edges.
The painting is on a 1.5″ thick canvas and is extended along the edges.
And here it is displayed in my room (where it is obviously not hanging...)
And here it is displayed in my room (where it is obviously not hanging…)
A close up view of Senan
A close up view of Senan, the birthday boy!
And his gorgeous bride-to-be Merna
And his gorgeous bride-to-be Merna

Well that was sufficiently long so I will save the other two paintings for another post on another day.

I’d also like to wish Senan the happiest 30th birthday! I hope you enjoy this painting even half as much as I enjoyed painting it.

This painting is obviously not for sale but if you’re interested in commissioning a painting of your own, check out this page with more information about ideas and my rates.

City Girl

Do you prefer the hustle and bustle of a busy city or are you more of a country dweller?

While I love the fresh air of the country, I’ve always chosen to live in the heart of downtown. I never have to worry about parking, or commuting, or city traffic since I can walk or bike just about anywhere I need to go.

Progression of the painting
Progression of the painting

I end up living in teeny tiny places for ridiculous amounts of money, but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. At this point in my life, I value location above all else. Maybe one day, if/when I have kids/pets I’ll make my way into suburbia or the country, but for now, no way! I’m lucky in that the city I live in (Ottawa, ON) also has a giant park nearby (Gatineau Park) which has extensive biking and hiking trails, beaches, as well as downhill and cross-country skiing trails so if I ever want to get away from the downtown hustle and bustle, I just hop on my bike.

Except when it rains or snows. Then I tend to hibernate, but that would happen if I lived in the country too.

12x12" - Acrylic on Canvas
City Girl – 12×12″ – Acrylic on Canvas

This painting is a portrayal of the reflecting city lights on a rainy night in the heart of downtown. As miserable as it may feel being stuck out in the rain at night, there is something so beautiful about the way the light reflects off the rain. Have you ever tried capturing such a moment with a camera? I’ve never been successful with it, so attempted it with this painting.

Zoomed in View
Zoomed in View

Interestingly, this painting made me realize how much I miss using oil paints. Since I live in a tiny downtown apartment, oil paints just aren’t feasible for me. I work on too many paintings at once to have room for them to lay out and dry (which can take weeks to months!), and there’s the issue of toxicity of the paint. The acrylic paint dries so fast that I had a very tough time blending the background in the way that I wanted to.

Displayed

So maybe one day when I move out into the burbs and have a painting studio with proper ventilation, I’ll reattempt this painting with oil paint. Isn’t it ironic that I need to escape city living to properly portray it in a painting?

~~~~~~~~~~

My original intent with this painting was to do a time-lapse video of the painting process of it. I have about 45 minutes of footage that I was hoping to make into a 2-3 minute video, however I’m terrible with technology so that didn’t happen.

Some issues I experienced:
– Movie Maker won’t work on my PC for whatever reason (after downloading it from Microsoft)
– the file size of each video is too large to edit in an online video editor

If any of you lovely folks out there have any recommendations how to fix theses issues, I’d LOVE to hear from you 🙂

Like this painting City Girl? It is now SOLD, but check out my other original paintings available in my online store here.

Sunshine Award

The “Sunshine Award” is awarded to bloggers who “light up the dark corners of our minds” and “positively and creatively inspire others in the blogoshphere”

Sunshine Award

I just received notification that Timothy Morris has nominated me for this award. I am extremely grateful for this nod of recognition, and to proudly display this award on my blog! Thank You!!!

And now to pay it forward, I will be nominating some fellow bloggers who I feel are also deserving of such recognition.

Here is what is asked upon receiving this award:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award in one of your blog posts.
2. Fill out the Question & Answers below.
3. Choose up to 12 bloggers to pass this award on to.

The Questions:

What is your favorite color? Pink

Even my ski gear is pink!
Even my ski gear is pink!

What is your favorite animal? Dogs, specifically my pup Gucci 

All dressed up for Valentine's Day
All dressed up for Valentine’s Day

What is your favorite number? 25, only because it’s my birthday day

What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? coffee, mainly for the studying super powers it gives me! 

What is your favorite alcoholic drink? red wine and vodka. It’s a tie. 

Way too happy to have that glass in my hand...
Way too happy to have that glass in my hand…

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. Have you ‘liked’ my page yet? 

What is your passion? I guess I don’t mind painting… 

If I stand on my tippy toes I can reach the top of the canvas
If I stand on my tippy toes I can reach the top of the canvas

Do you prefer giving or receiving gifts? Giving. I love making something creative for someone special. 

Made this for a dear friends graduation gift, inspired by Pinterest
Made this for a dear friends graduation gift, inspired by Pinterest

And now for my nominees:

1. Katie at Katie Bauer Photography

2. ALK3R at ALK3R 

3. Ryan at Ryan Bell Photography

4. Anna at Anna Cull Illustration & Design & Art

5. Lindsay at Art by Linz

6. Robert at Burgess Art

7. David at David White Paintings 

8. Jacqueline at TOKIDOKI

9. Mcsirishart at Mcsirishart

10. Nick at The Art of Rendering 

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