I don’t do it often, but every now and then, I will make art specifically for a friend for a special occasion. In this case this piece was a birthday gift for one of my volleyball buddies whom I have known for years.
I started this drawing a few hours before the party, although I had been processing the idea in my mind for several weeks. I did a quick preliminary sketch and then went to work immediately on the final. Unfortunately I had no time to scan the final product after I was done, so in a mat and plastic sleeve it went.
There were just so many scenarios that I could draw from, and so many sarcastic one-liners that I could use. I couldn’t get the voices to stop talking. You would have to understand the personality types and day to day activities and conversations of all of the players, in order to really appreciate this. As a rule, Jim, the birthday boy, definitely does his share of trash-talking in a “I-like-to-toss-a-grenade-into-a-room-and-see-what-happens” kind of way. I will have to give him credit for earnestly taking as much crap as he gives.
On his Facebook post he announced he was having a birthday party and that he didn’t want any gifts, just money and some volleyball wins. There was no way I was gong to give him any volleyball wins. Historically, any victory that he has had over me and my partner (or anyone else for that matter) typically results in much trash talking via Facebook. Mostly the phrase, “I am awesome!” is often interjected into his bragadocious remarks. This prompted me to create the scenario with him napping at work, dreaming that he won while Jen, his longtime volleyball partner, best friend and coworker, hacks into his Facebook page.
I was told that I was spot on in my interpretation of everyone. There were the personal touches that we all could appreciate such as Jim’s ankle braces, Jen’s bandana, my big hair, and my partner Don’s seemingly permanent tanline above the ankles.
In the end Jim really loved the gift and it was passed around to everyone at the party generating lots of laughs. Even people at the party that didn’t play volleyball with us got the gist of it. Months later at Jen’s birthday party he made a copy of it, framed it and gave it to her for her birthday. And thankfully, he also made copies for me and Don as well which is why it is on this blog today.
So my latest addition to the “Twelve Days of Christmas” series is “Partridge in a Pear Tree.” Here was the preliminary sketch from a previous blog-post. I didn’t get around to drawing the final work until a few weeks ago.
Here is where I fleshed out the original in pencil. I used Bristol paper, my paper of choice, as it can handle just about any media including wet media.
A lot of my watercolor work tends to be softer and I wanted to make this piece more vibrant. I used a set of watercolor pencils called Inktense by Derwent and watercolor crayon that has that same level of brightness. Then I outlined the images using my Faber-Castell brush and fine line pens and voila!
The color green is still pretty prominent in my work, even with the bright yellow pears and colorful partridge. I can’t help myself. I also like the backwards lean of the satisfied partridge. I think this is another whimsical piece that fits in beautifully with the overall theme of my “Twelve Days” series.
I wrapped this thing up at after 1:00 AM on a Thursday night/ Friday morning and then ran down to Kinko’s to scan the image. Thank God they’re open 24 hours!
When I got home I started printing the image on cards immediately so that I could add them to my assorted six-pack. Here they are packaged in clear plastic boxes. I love the professional look !
As I started to print more partridges to package them individually my printer crapped out on me. When you see a message on the printer’s display screen that says, “Error” and then it tells you to unplug your printer and call the service center, that is NOT a good sign. I probably won’t be able to get my printer to the print doctor until Monday and I hope this is something that a) can be fixed like yesterday, and b) doesn’t cost me a fortune.
Oh well, an artist’s life is never boring.
Okay so it’s already May! Time is flying! My birthday is just around the corner, and it occurred to me that it won’t be long before the arrival of Christmas. Yeesh! I shudder at the thought.
This prompted me to start generating some ideas for my on-going “Twelve Days of Christmas” project. I started working on my sketch a couple of days ago for “Partridge In A Pear Tree.” Back in 2010, I created an earlier version in watercolor pencil and used it for Christmas cards to send to friends and family. The final product turned out fairly well, however months later after completing some of the other pieces in the “Twelve Days” collection, this partridge now seems so serious by comparison.
This time, I want to make the new one brighter and a little more animated so here is the latest sketch below. I love him! He has just finished eating a pear that was hovering above him and is leaning back, full belly and all, feeling extremely satisfied. When I create the final, the leaves will be even larger and overlapping, thus eliminating any white space. I am considering the use of oil pastels to make the colors pop. No surprise, I will probably struggle with the decision of what colors to use for the partridge. There’s a good chance that I won’t stick to the same palette in the sketch or even the original partridge drawing for that matter.