I am so excited to announce that I have partnered with Society 6 and opened up a new merch shop! This partnership allows me to offer prints, canvases, and an amazing range of fun and beautiful products that features my whimsical paintings. I will be adding other products to my shop in the near future, and check out the other products available now and see what grabs your eye! https://society6.com/taradeetscreek
I have always loved polar bears. I could watch them swim in the water all day! I decided that this would be the perfect animal to paint next! First, I sketched out my composition. I wanted the polar bear to be as close to life size as possible. During my research, I found that polar bears are about 4 feet standing on all four legs. I was able to make him close to life size being around 3 feet tall. He felt HUGE when I drew him up on the canvas and I loved the grand presence of him. For some reason, I always want everything I paint to be as life size as possible, whether it be people, etc. and, in this case, animals. It is so much easier to capture all of the detail in my subjects when they are larger, and then I almost feel like they are in the room with me and a part of my space.
I began my mixed media painting with my first layer of colored pencils which is a great way to map out all the lights, darks, and variations of color before I lay down the paint. My mixed media technique is unique in that I layer pencils, then paint, then pencils, etc. onto my canvas. It really creates a beautiful depth and atmosphere to my paintings that I wouldn't be able to achieve in the same way with using paint or pencils alone. Drawing has always been my first love and years ago I found this mixed media technique that has suited me perfectly. It was magic the first time I ever tried it and I have been obsessed ever since!
I was a little nervous about painting a white animal because sometimes it can be tricking creating the variations of tones in white, but it really helped starting off with a tan base so that it wasn't so intimidating and helped create immediate contrast between the white I was laying down on my canvas. One of my favorite things about doing art is studying a subject through painting it. I never would have realized that there were so many different colors in a polar bear's fur, or that lines form where clumps of hair separate (i.e. hand and head).
The next animal was a bearded seal. I had no idea there was such a thing as a bearded seal until I started to research animals to paint. But once I found this kind of seal I was set on painting him! I love all the long whiskers they have and they were just so cute! He is missing half of his face here but this is the work in process...
I developed the seal more and submerged him in some painted water...
I wanted this painting to have a nautical feel to it so blue and white stripes seemed like the perfect pattern to incorporate. It took me some time to figure out the best place to incorporate the stripes. In my sketchbook I made a few pages of thumbnail sketches playing around with placement and colors etc. until I arrived at this...
Florals and stripes are a classic pairing and the flowers were a great way to add some color into this painting since my animals were very neutral. I used the flowers as a repeating pattern in the background and used my paint without much water to create a soft texture to the flowers. This is a dry brush technique that I don't think I have used on my canvas paintings before and I really like the way it turned out. It gave the flowers a kind of velvety look. Painting the fur has been a wonderful way to show me that I can create a variety of textures with my medium and makes me want to explore other textures.
The final step was to paint a blue background around the flowers and really help make the bear pop. It sure did! After I laid on the blue, the white of the polar bear was a striking contrast and I couldn't be happier with the result. I added a gold edging to the circle and gold dots for some embellishments in the background which is the cherry on the top for me!
The finished painting is 30X36 inches and is available for purchase. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any inquiries at all about this painting. It will be on display locally to the Akron area next month. More details to come on that so stay tuned! If you don't want to miss a beat, send me your email so that I can get you on my email list. I don't usually send more than one email a month but it is a great way to stay in the loop about local shows, art sales, etc.