Big Eye Art by Blonde Blythe
I paint Blythe dolls and other big-eye cuties!
I'm a self-taught Southern artist who paints big-eye art in the tradition of '60s pop culture icon Margaret Keane--with a twist of fantasy added to the mix.
Call me Blonde Blythe--it's not my real name, but I've kind of adopted it. Some folks call me Blythe, and some just call me Blonde. I'll answer to either one--lol! ;-)
I like all sorts of things: Blythe dolls, hippie girls, owls, fairies, frogs, ballerinas, mermaids, genies, Alice in Wonderland, witches, pin-ups, cats, Boston terriers, flappers, pumpkins, ghosts, butterflies, paisleys, bright colors, whimsy, Victorian homes, and much, much more. These things that make me happy somehow manage to make their way into my paintings, so that you can enjoy them too! :)
I started collecting Blythe dolls in 2000, when I happened upon an eBay auction for a vintage "changing-eye doll." The headline definitely caught my attention, so I decided to further investigate this intriguing doll. I loved it so much that I bought it! Thus began a new chapter in my life--Blythe mania! At the time the Blythe doll came out (1972) I was fifteen years old, and too "grown up" to shop for dolls. But boy, what I had been missing!
Shortly after I started collecting Blythe dolls, I also began painting fantasy and folk art on canvas. One day, while deciding what to paint next, I thought, "Why not paint one of my Blythe dolls? I painted a portrait in oils on a 14- by 11-inch stretched canvas of my blonde Blythe doll wearing "Kozy Kape" fashion (11/2000); when I listed her on eBay I was pleasantly surprised when she got several bids! Yay! From that moment on, I was hooked; I adopted the artist name, "Blonde Blythe." A few weeks later, I was invited to appear in Barbie Bazaar magazine (July/August 2001) in the article, "Blythe: American Gothic."
I started out painting these big Blythe doll heads on stretched canvas, then progressed to painting scenes featuring my Blythe-style girls dressed up as witches, fairies, mermaids, genies, hippies, and fairy tale maidens (Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Alice in Wonderland, to name a few).
I now paint in liquid acrylics (you know, those little bottles of paint sold at Walmart in the craft section) on canvas. I love bright colors, so I try to make my paintings as vibrant as possible, sometimes to the point of almost being garish. Lol! My work is inspired by many things, not to mention my moods. I'm a very moody person, so you never know what you'll get when I finish a painting. Lol! And, I have also been known to change my mind a time or two, so I'm continually painting out or adding things to my composition.
I love kawaii (cute). The earliest memory I have of being wowed by cuteness is when I saw my first Betty Boop cartoon at the age of five. After that, I began to notice the cutesy figurines and figural planters that were offered for sale in department stores in the early '60s as well as the Margaret Keane and other big-eye waif art that was so prevalent at that time.
I'm a big fan of other artists' work, and also have quite a collection of art books. I've also managed to snag a few original paintings by my favorite artists. Some of my favorite artists are: Margaret Keane, Gig, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Misty Benson, Vicky Knowles, Maxine Gadd, El Greco, John Singer Sargent, Charles Burchfield, Vincent van Gogh, Tamara de Lempicka, Frida Kahlo, Bosch, John Waterhouse, Grandma Moses, and illustrator Norman Rockwell.
I was very fortunate to have a book published by Merrell Publishers in 2008, titled Big Eye Art: Resurrected and Transformed. It showcases art by 22 eclectic artists, including myself!
Why haven't you seen much art from me lately? For the past several years, I've been dealing with the dreaded artist's block! It started while I was working on my "Wizard of Oz in Big Eye" painting and has continued to plague me off and on (mostly on!) ever since! I'm presently close to finishing a new painting (I hope!), but it has been a long haul! I believe I've worked on this one on and off for an entire year! The longer I go without painting, the more anxiety I get about painting, and the more I'm afraid to put brush to canvas, which is a vicious cycle.
Yesterday I visited the Birmingham Museum of Art in Alabama. It had been about eight years since I last visited, and what fun I had! It's a wonderful museum with not only paintings, but Asian, Native American, and African art and artifacts to delight the senses. One of my favorite things there is the Samurai warrior attire--including the complete uniform--down to the face guard, strikingly beautiful helmets, body armour, and, of course, the Samurai sword.
The Birmingham Museum of Art houses paintings by some of my favorite artists--Gainsborough, Reynolds, Monet, John Singer Sergeant, and more! It's so thrilling to see paintings by your favorite artists in person!
I also enjoyed the folk art pieces--very expressive and bold. There were several Mose Tolliver pieces; I first discovered his work on eBay many years ago thinking, "What in the world. . . .? Lol! "The Electric Slide" is my favorite Mose Tolliver painting, and it was a real treat seeing his work in person at the museum. For some reason, the Howard Finster pieces were no longer there (they had been the last couple of times I visited). Maybe they had been on loan?
To make a long story short, Seeing these incredible works of art got my creativity fired up! I even watched some Howard Finster and Mose Tolliver videos after I got back home. I was so inspired, that for the first time in many years, I actually painted late into the night! Let's hope this positive trend continues and you will see more art from me! I plan to paint today, too!
When I first started painting, I had so much fun! I wasn't all consumed with perspective and anatomy and getting things perfect. I still adore that folky style, and I revel in bright colors, the cute, the unusual, and humorous! Lets see what I can do with the painting I'm presently working on!
Mose Tolliver, born in the Pike Road community near Montgomery, Alabama around 1919, was the youngest of twelve children born to sharecroppers, completing the third grade of school. Mose recalled that growing up, he was inspired by the art his mother had hanging all over the walls of his childhood home.
In the 1940s, Tolliver married his childhood friend, Willie Mae Thomas; they had thirteen children, eleven of whom survived. One fateful day, while working in a furniture factory, a slab of marble fell on Mose, crushing his legs and rendering him unable to work. Bored with nothing to do but sit all day, Tolliver took up painting to pass the time, using plywood and house paint for his creations. His paintings, which are based on his own experiences, feature animals, flora, and humans, and are whimsical, and sometimes erotic. Today, Tolliver's work is exhibited in a number of prestigious museums, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC.
Howard Finster was a preacher who stumbled upon art one day while touching up a spot of missing paint on his bicycle with his finger. When he looked at his finger he saw a face there; the face told him to paint sacred art. Finster really couldn't understand why, though--he didn't know how to paint!
As a minister, Finster became so discouraged that his congregation wasn't remembering his sermons, that so he came up with a bright idea--he started writing his sermons all over his paintings. Lo and behold it worked! People couldn't get enough of his work!
New Painting! "Hippie Mermaid with Guitar" by Blonde Blythe 2019
Wow! I didn't realize it had been almost two years since I completed a new painting! I knew I had painter's block, but this is ridiculous! The last painting completed by me was "Fantasy Flapper" on August 2, 2017!
As sick as I was of working on this painting, I stuck with it to the very end. I was determined to see it through, and voila'--here it is!
My "Hippie Mermaid" painting, completed in 2010, is my most popular image to date. I felt like the time was right for another hippie mermaid, so here you go!
I wanted this hippie girl to be strumming a guitar, and to have wavy hair. I added the little flowers to her hair at the end. Like all of my paintings, I invented and added to it as I went along. There were many times I decided that I didn't like something, so I would simply paint it out. Too bad you can't do that in real life! Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply paint out the things you don't like? Talk about lowering your stress level!
Since I had painter's block, I would stop painting for awhile, then I'd venture back and start working on this piece again. I got frustrated too many times to count! Towards the end I was very determined to finish it, so I kept on going. Just when I thought I was finished, I would see something I didn't like; then it would start all over again. I'm tickled pink to announce that this painting is FINISHED!
Who is Margaret Keane?
Margaret Keane, who began creating her big-eye cuties in the late 1950s, is known as the "mother of big-eye art," and is famous for her "homeless waif" paintings. Prints of her work were widely mass-produced in the '60s, and '70s. Today, her originals are eagerly sought by collectors--most notably, celebrities Matthew Sweet, Tim Burton, and Marilyn Manson.
I Made a Video of Some of My Favorite Paintings and Set it to My Favorite Silent Movie Music! - The Music is "Hand Trolley" by Kevin MacLeod.
What is a Blythe Doll, Anyway?
A Blythe doll is a vinyl doll with oversized hard plastic head and Skipper-size body that was originally manufactured in 1972. She is unique in that her saucer-shaped eyes change color and expression with the tug of a string, which is located in back of her head.
Here are three Blythe dolls from my personal collection, representing three of the four original hair colors (red, blonde, and black), and three of the four original eye colors (blue, green, and pink). The dolls are wearing original fashions: "Pleasant Peasant," "Aztec Arrival," and "Medieval Mood."
Vintage Blythe Doll Commercial
My Blythe Doll Art in "Dolls" Magazine
My "Tooth Fairy Blythe," and "Halloween Blythe Owl Witch" were featured in the October 2009 edition of Dolls magazine in the article, "The Eyes Have it."
My Blythe Doll Art in "Barbie Bazaar" Magazine!
My Blythe doll art was featured in the July/August 2001 edition of Barbie Bazaar magazine, in the article, "Blythe: American Gothic." The author, Tiffany Lewis, also included a short bio about me.
Big Sister Was the Artist & I Was the Ballerina!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Growing up, my big sister was the artist, and I was the annoying tag-along sister. I did a little doodling as most kids do, but at that age, I just didn't have the motivation or inspiration to pursue art any further, especially when my sister was so amazing! My sister was talented at all sorts of things--she could draw and paint, she could write, and she was musically inclined. When I got to be around eleven, I finally found something I could do better than her--ballet! At that age, I had more energy than I knew what to do with, so ballet was the perfect outlet! I got many compliments from the ballet teacher for my elevation, which further encouraged me. I particularly enjoyed the recitals, and wearing pretty costumes! I continued the ballet lessons, and even worked part time as an assistant ballet teacher, until I graduated high school and began college.
Sister Melanie was very musically inclined while we were growing up. She wrote songs, and also gave guitar lessons. This photo was made while we were living in Germany, probably around 1968.
The Ballerina!Click thumbnail to view full-size
I loved ballet as well as the pretty costumes and toe shoes! Unfortunately, no one told me to tuck in my shoe ribbons, which spoiled the photo!
Big sis Melanie, the artist of the family, is now a singer and song writer!
My sister, Melanie, who has had many interests over the years, now writes her own songs, and sings them beautifully! Click to listen.
"I Dream of Jeannie Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2006
The original painting (acrylic on 20- by 16-inch canvas) was commissioned by an I Dream of Jeannie fan, who wanted a big-eye version of Barbara Eden's "Jeannie" character. The painting, which took a month to complete, has been one of my most popular images ever since.
"Evil Green Jeannie Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2006
The original painting was commissioned by the same I Dream of Jeannie fan that commissioned the "I Dream of Jeannie Doll" painting. This of course is the evil half of the Jeannie sisters.
"Gothic Genie Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2006
I like creating Gothic paintings from time to time, and this is my Gothic version of Jeannie. I decided to keep this painting for myself.
"Purple Genie Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2009
My Purple Genie was inspired by my love for purple and its perfect compliment--red hair! There are many jewels in this painting--both on the bottle and the genie. This is the latest in my "Genie" series; after painting it, I decided that I couldn't part with it.
"Flapper Fantasy" by Blonde Blythe 2017
Being the 1920s buff that I am (I'm convinced I was reincarnated from the '20s!), I absolutely love flapper girls and all the trappings! I decided to paint a sultry brunette with big eyes, of course! In my usual fashion, I composed the painting as I went along and decided that Japanese lanterns would be great, as a lot of vintage '20s era artwork featured Japanese lanterns. To give the painting a dreamy fantasy aura, I added a blue moon with a face and twinkling stars in the background. One of my favorite paintings to date! I decided to keep this one!
"Boston Terrier Charleston" by Blonde Blythe 2010
In "Boston Terrier Charleston," I combined two of my favorite things--Boston terriers and flappers. The Boston terriers go great with her red fringed dress with black and white checkerboard accents. In the twenties, external horns had been eliminated, manufacturers opting instead to use internal horns, Because I like the look, I still wanted to include a gramophone sporting a big morning glory horn with painted flowers. After all, during this time, many folks were still using the old-style gramophones. In the windows are glowing leg lamps--they're sexy and cute, and add a touch of whimsy. Everyone gets a big kick out of the dancing dog!
Blythe Doll Portraits
"Cleopatra Blythe Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2008
I think Blythe makes an adorable Cleopatra--don't you? It took me quite awhile to paint in all the jewels and beads, but it was definitely worth every minute of it. :-) Here is another painting I couldn't part with.
"Biker Blythe" by Blonde Blythe 2004
Inspired by the T.V. show, "American Chopper," I came up with an idea for a Gothic-looking white-haired Blythe doll on a chopper, in shades of red, purple, and black. I did the cycle in a checkerboard pattern with orange flames.
"Blythe Love Head Vase" by Blonde Blythe 2017
Another passion of mine is collecting vintage lady head vases; my favorite lady of all time is the "Love" head vase. After getting the idea to combine my love for big-eye art, head vases, and Blythe dolls, here is the result! Instead of the usual vibrant colors, I opted for pastel colors this time and, after a little experimentation, I decided to go with a matching striped background. I love this girl so much that I decided to keep her for myself. Lately, keeping my work has been a trend for me! ;-)
"Love Hippie Blythe Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2014
When I began the preliminary sketch for this painting I had already decided that I wanted it to be very psychedelic. I also wanted my hippie girl to have a headband with the word, "love," on it. I had previously added "eye flowers" to my "Hippie Girl Mermaid" painting, and decided to put them in this painting as well. Instead of painting them all one color as in the previous painting, I decided to paint them with multi-color stripes.
Although I did a preliminary sketch on paper to work out the composition in the beginning, the actual painting turned out a lot different, which is not unusual for me. I tend to change my mind a lot and get other ideas during the creative process. One of the biggest changes was her hair color. In the beginning it was blonde; I decided to change it, as I thought black would provide a bolder contrast.
"American Hippie Blythe Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2009
This hippie was painted right before the fourth of July, which inspired me to paint her wearing stars and stripes. Purple is my favorite color, as you can tell by her eyes. I love her golden hair.
"Paisley Hippie Blythe Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2009
I decided to do this hippie with black hair, since I get so many requests for a black hair Blythe. I gave her blue eyes: blue eyes are killer with black hair. I love purple, as do most women, so I decided to go with purple for her outfit. Of course I had to paint in a ton of paisleys. The original painting was sold to a fan in Hong Kong.
"Peace Hippie Blythe Doll" by Blonde Blythe 2002
My Peace Hippie Blythe is one of my older, as well as one of my most popular images. This painting was done as a gift for a friend in 2002, and is painted in acrylics on a 14- by 11-inch canvas. The background is made up of flowers, hearts, and peace signs in all colors, shapes, and sizes.
"Mermaids' Moon" by Blonde Blythe 2013
"Mermaids' Moon" is actually a made over painting that was painted eleven years before, but never finished. I pretty much changed just about everything in this piece, even down to the color of her hair.
I experimented a lot with this painting; I changed the background so much that I was beginning to think I would never get finished! Some of the fish I wasn't happy with were painted out and new ones added. I came up with the idea of a harvest moon in the background surrounded by twinkling stars. I'm very pleased with the results, and I love this painting so much that I think I'll keep it! The painting measures a huge 36- by 48-inches.
"Hippie Girl Mermaid" by Blonde Blythe 2010
My aim in creating this painting was to make it as psychedelic and whimsical as possible. I came up with the idea to add eye flowers to the composition, then I just kept adding elements as I went along. I hope she makes you smile!
"Tooth Fairy Blythe" by Blonde Blythe 2005
This was a commission for a local dentist, who was thrilled with the painting. "Tooth Fairy Blythe" has become quite a conversation piece at the dentist's office.
"Boston Terrier Ballet Fairy" by Blonde Blythe 2007
Inspired by a love of ballet, and the cuteness of Boston terriers, I decided to combine them. This big-eye ballerina is merrily performing the "Boston terrier ballet" among red dog-faced flowers.
"Blythe Kiss Fairy" by Blonde Blythe 2007
My "Blythe Kiss Fairy" was created for Valentine's Day 2007. I decided to include chocolate kisses, pink clouds, and hearts. Her scepter is a giant kiss with big eyes and lips pursed as if to deliver a kiss--very whimsical, indeed. This is another painting I decided I couldn't part with.
"Winter Magic Fairy" by Blonde Blythe 2007
While painting this cute little fairy, I just let my imagination run wild; that is when I enjoy painting the most and also when I do my best work. It's fun to go crazy with images and colors. I wanted to convey a feeling of winter and magic and I hope I was successful! Can you tell I love cats? :)
"Winter Carriage Ride" by Blonde Blythe 2005
I wanted to do a wintery scene with a carriage and fairy, and decided to use polar bears to pull the carriage instead of horses. Unfortunately, one polar bear seems to be sitting down on the job! The inside of the carriage is brightly lit with a toasty fire, so our little fairy doesn't get cold on her journey to the North Pole. This painting was sold to the same collector that commissioned the genie girls!
Alice in Wonderland
"Alice in Wonderland and the Caterpillar" by Blonde Blythe 2009
I painted this Alice in Wonderland Blythe doll with a three-quarter face, which was quite a challenge. Her dress is modeled after a child's dress from the early 1900s. The big-eye flowers and goofy-looking caterpillar add fun and whimsy to the painting, and the doll adds a Gothic twist.
"Kawaii Noir Alice in Wonderland" by Blonde Blythe 2006
This is one of my favorite paintings I have ever done. I wanted to break all barriers and do a Gothic sexy version of Alice with a bit of whimsy added to spice things up. I think she looks great in the corset and fishnet stockings, don't you? I added my own version of the Cheshire Cat. Instead of the usual stripes, I made him a calico, with huge, luminous eyes.
"Alice in Wonderland and the Flamingos" by Blonde Blythe 2004
This is my first Alice in Wonderland painting. I love pink flamingos, so I chose to illustrate the "flamingo croquet" scene. I decided to create a spring-themed background, and painted in some fluffy pink trees. For her hair, I went with a cool ice blonde.
"Kawaii Noir Alice in Wonderland II" by Blonde Blythe 2008
This is my second Gothic Alice in Wonderland painting. It's so much fun painting Alice with dark hair! This painting represents the Caucus Race. I had a blast painting all the characters, especially the owl!
"Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat" by Blonde Blythe 2008
In this Alice in Wonderland painting, I decided to change Alice's look a bit, and I wanted to create a completely different cheshire cat than I had ever seen in any Alice in Wonderland art. So, I decided to make the Cheshire Cat a calico. I created this painting on masonite board rather than my usual canvas as a change of pace. The original painting was sold to a collector from the Netherlands.
Fairy Tale Art
"The Wizard of Oz in Big-Eye" by Blonde Blythe 2012
"The Wizard of Oz in Big-Eye" took me a year and three months to complete (January 3, 2011--April 3, 2012). Although it was a struggle, I wouldn't change a thing. I had been wanting to create my own big-eye version of the "Wiz" for quite some time. I hung in there, even though I was sick and tired of working on the same painting for so long. I'll always have the painting as a reminder of overcoming my struggle with artist's block (And no, I'm not selling this one, either! ;)
"Hansel & Gretel Blythe Dolls" by Blonde Blythe 2004
This is my Blythe doll version of Hansel and Gretel--with a Gothic twist. Although there aren't any boy Blythe dolls, I created one for this painting, which is on an 18- by 24-inch canvas. This painting was sold to the same collector who bought the genie girls and the "Winter Carriage Ride" painting!
"Snow White and the Animals" by Blonde Blythe 2004
This is my big-eye version of Snow White. I love cuteness, whimsy, & color, and this painting definitely has it all! In this painting, I wanted to make Snow White look as cute and innocent as possible, with equally cute and innocent animals.
The original 20- by 16-inch painting was sold to talented big-eye artist Kelly Haigh.
"Snow White's Wishing Well" by Blonde Blythe 2005
In the second installment of my "Snow White" series, I decided to do a scene by the wishing well with some very attentive animals, and a goofy frog in the bucket.
"Snow White Christmas" by Blonde Blythe 2004
I created this Snow White painting for Christmas 2004, in more of a folk art style. I then used the image to make unique Christmas cards for friends and family. This painting was sold to a good friend, who is still enjoying it!
"Halloween Blythe and the Haunted Tree House" by Blonde Blythe 2005
This painting was commissioned by a fan who wanted a white-haired Blythe doll witch in a Halloween scene with a black cat. In the background is a haunted tree house with all sorts of ghouls and goblins residing there. The black cat smirks as he stirs up an evil brew.
"Checkerboard Witch" by Blonde Blythe 2007
For this Halloween painting, I wanted a white-haired witch with a checkerboard pattern outfit in orange and black, which is quite striking! Being a cat lover, I wanted to lend a feline flair to this piece, so I decided to include kitty pumpkins and ghosts!
"Halloween Blythe and the Magic Window" by Blonde Blythe 2002
I love all the colors in this painting, especially her fuchsia hair! I added to this piece as I went along, which is typically the way I do most of my paintings. In this piece, as well as most pieces I create, I never know exactly what the painting will look like until it is finished. Whatever I decide to put down on canvas is determined by my mood and inspirations at that particular time.
"Halloween Blythe and the Luna Moth Spell" by Blonde Blythe 2002
Because I love Luna moths, I came up with the idea to incorporate Luna moths into my Halloween painting.
This adorable witch, very stylish in her red cape and celestial-design witch's hat with spider friend in tow, is concocting a spell which involves (you guessed it) Luna moths! I wonder what the spell is for? This cute little witch will never tell! ;-)
"Halloween Kitty Cat Fairy" by Blonde Blythe 2006
I made this fairy very Gothic looking, with chalky-white skin and blood-red eyes. Her dress, festively designed, has rows of hissing kitty heads dangling from ribbons and encircling the skirt. Her kitty companion, also in the Halloween spirit, holds a curious pumpkin over his head with his tail. Sporting bi-color eyes, the cat is so ugly, he's cute!
"Green Halloween Blythe Witch" by Blonde Blythe 2003
Green and purple are my favorite colors, and they look great in a Halloween painting. I included lots of pumpkins, ghosts, pumpkin people, bats, tombstones, and even a black cat on broomstick in this piece. Warning: Beware of the demonic pumpkin in the haunted castle!
"Halloween Blythe: Pumpkins on the Fence" by Blonde Blythe 2002
This was my very first Halloween Blythe painting, and was completed in 2002 in acrylics on a 20- by 16-inch canvas. It was purchased by a collector from Beverly Hills.
"Halloween Blythe Owl Witch" by Blonde Blythe 2005
Halloween in my favorite time of year--I'm captivated by the atmosphere, colors, decorations, costumes, and festivities.
The Blythe doll, with her spooky and mysterious big eyes, makes a perfect witch--and I absolutely love owls, so I decided to combine them! Yet another painting I couldn't part with!
"Snowy Owl Fairy" by Blonde Blythe 2006
I adore owls, and the snowy owl is my very favorite! So, I came up with the idea to paint a winter scene with a fairy that loves snowy owls as much as I do. This cute little fairy is wearing vintage "Kozy Kape" fashion, popular among Blythe aficionados, and my all-time personal favorite.
"Snowy Owl Witch" by Blonde Blythe 2010
Being the big owl lover that I am, I decided to do another one. This one features a completely white snowy owl, and witch with a striped cat-in-the-hat style hat. I love the wintery blue shades in this one, as well as the snowflakes. I think I suceeded in projecting the wintery aura that I was striving for.
"Purple Victorian House" by Blonde Blythe 2015
Although I mostly paint big-eye cuties, sometimes I dabble in landscape paintings, like this one. My husband had been wanting a Victorian house landscape painting for many years, and when he took a photo of a local Victorian home that we both love, I used the photo as a reference for this painting. He requested a fall scene, so I put fall trees in the background, as well as an old wagon and pumpkins. I had fun adding various coordinating colors to the sky, lending it a dreamy appearance.
This painting is huge--24- by 48-inches. Between my on-again, off-again painting style, not to mention the frequent composition changes, all told, it took me a year and a half to finally complete this "painted lady," and was well worth it, I might add. My husband is thrilled, and so am I!
"Gordon's Lighthouse" by Blonde Blythe 2003
"Although this painting is definitely not big-eye art, I still wanted to include it in this article. The painting was done on a huge 36- by 24-inch canvas, and was a gift for my son, Gordon, who is a chief petty officer in the United States Coast Guard.
I Dream of Jeannie Doll Work in Progress - The following pictures show the progress of my I Dream of Jeannie Painting
This painting was created in liquid acrylics on a 20- by 16-inch stretched canvas. In the beginning, I did a loose sketch, then started blocking in color. I normally start out dark and go progressively lighter, which gives depth to the painting.
In these two pictures, You can see that I have started defining and detailing her costume and her bottle, building up many layers of color.
In the last two pictures, you can see that I have further refined the painting, tweaking the highlights and shadows, and adding more detail. The last picture is the completed painting.
Preliminary Sketches and Doodles
Today I dug out some of my sketches. These sketches are unfinished, preliminary sketches to help me work out my characters and composition. Sketching out ideas on paper helps me to visualize what I want my paintings to look like. I don't always sketch out the idea on paper first, however. Sometimes I do a loose sketch on canvas and take it from there, changing and adding to the composition as I go along.
Alice in Wonderland and the Caterpillar
This is a preliminary sketch I did of my Alice and the Caterpillar painting. I had a bit of trouble with the three-quarter perspective of her face, but finally (with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears) I eventually got it right, as you can see in the original painting, which hangs upon my art studio walls as I speak. If you look at the original painting (in the Alice in Wonderland category), you will see that I didn't go exactly by my sketch, which is typical for me.
Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat
I wanted to do a different type of Alice, so here I concocted an Alice with an attitude. The Cheshire Cat looks a lot different in the completed painting, with a friendlier demeanor, much larger grin, and a more robust body.
Somehow my Emerald Ballerina Fairy sketch ended up turning into the "Boston Terrier Ballet Fairy" painting, which is totally different from the sketch, except for her leg position. I added crystal prisms to her wings, turning them into fluttery chandeliers; there are also little emerald pom-poms on her skirt and an emerald sun. Maybe one day I will paint one like this, too.
Love Hippie Blythe Doll
I thought it would be really cute to create a hippie based on the "love" theme! I wanted the background to be really detailed and psychedelic and I wanted the hippie to be dressed in my favorite color--purple! I made a preliminary sketch for my Love Hippie Blythe Doll painting on my sketch pad, which took a long time, considering all of the detail in the background. Although I deviated from my sketch somewhat, it did help me a lot in figuring out exactly what I wanted to do.
The Wizard of Oz
This is of course my preliminary Wizard of Oz sketch. I had a hard time deciding what I wanted the characters and surroundings to look like. While working on the original painting, I made countless changes to just about everything, including Dorothy's hair and dress.