When I was pregnant with my son, I went through a pretty fun ‘nesting phase.’ I had to transform our guest room-art room into a nursery- so that meant moving Tupperware bins of paints, brushes, half-empty craft paint bottles, old leaking containers of mineral spirits, half finished small canvases, tiny bits of gold leaf stuck to dried out copic markers- you get the picture. At the time, I wasn’t painting as much so it wasn’t much of a loss.
After the new paint was on the walls and baby furniture moved in, I decided to paint a little painting as a gift for our new son. I painted from a place of pure joy and that painting looked like a little Octopus floating in a teal and blue world. The tentacles were little cute spirals and his one eye kinda stuck out like, “Hey, I’m an octopus and I don’t have any particularly hard opinions on anything. Nice to meet you, I guess.”
It sat on the tallest shelf in Alex’s room for these 6 years and it’s always been a favorite. Over the weekend, I thought what a perfect enjoyable activity to blow it up and create a piece to share with the world.
I didn’t care much about recreating it perfectly so no tracing or projecting or gridding was really necessary- that step is always the most tedious to me anyway. I just eyeballed (ha!) it until I was happy with the composition I had. Before I drew it out, I decided to paint it the same teal color that I used 6 years ago- I almost always paint the entire canvas before beginning- it eliminates the need to keep trying to cover the white and gives you a common tone to work off of. Since most of the painting is water, I just had to worry about layering the octopus’s skin on top and deciding when to let the teal peer through and when not to.
At this stage, it’s just layering on paint until you’re happy with the look. I used a small brush the size of a dime to add tiny strokes. I like the texture of the original octopus and decided to carry that throughout the painting into the water this time.
After a series of layering, I did something experimental for me at the time: oil pastels. I liked their effect because they grabbed at the ‘tooth’ of the canvas and gave it a nice texture and dimension. It was also super fun to work with something new and build a new technique to add to the mental lock box for future use.
In about 12 hours, it was done! My “Mommy and baby” painting. One for Alex, and one for me. (^-^) Which one is your favorite?