Let’s sum it up!

Yesterday I handed the completed commissions (I call them commissions but I think it’s a bit incorrect but, sound so professional, doesn’t it? And I work on them “as if” so…well yes…they’re commissions :)).

The first one was a Bday present for my (soon-to-be) mother-in law and father-in-law (they both turned 50 recently). I had complete freedom ( the Bday present was from me :)). Nonetheless I worked on it like a pro and am very pleased with the results. My sister thought it was too beautiful she wanted me to keep it.

I used the hardboard you know I love because it works so well with acrylic paints. It’s BIG: 40×50 cm. Sooo much space.

I started covering the whole board with white, blue, light blue and green. I let the color fall on the surface and smeared and mixed as I go with a big brush, trying to add a little texture. I then drew the subject (and as a reminder USE A COLORED PENCIL FOR THE DRAWING NOT JUST A PENCIL!) and started on the face.


I always start on the face because it’s the main focus point and if it’s deformed the whole picture is ruined.


I mixed my own flesh tones,  it’s not as tough as I thought ( thank you Google!). Once I was satisfied with the flesh I turned to the “hair”. I intentionally leave the eyes, I always paint them when everything else’s finished, to concentrate solely on them and to feel a bit like…well a Goddess giving life to her creatures 🙂


The theme of the painting was something between sea creatures and botany ( thanks Google (again) and thank you sister’s botany book!). The color scheme was somehow pre-determined: the bluish background forced me to use mainly the warmer side of the color wheel.


I have to admit it always amazes me when I SEE complementary colors really pop up, when you placed them side by side.


Details were so much fun and once I added the light in her eyes I felt really proud of what I’d done.

Second commission was somehow a more proper commission. My father asked me to paint a gift fr my uncle’s bday. We discussed the matter and went for Chinese Zodiac. Intentionally avoiding the Rabbit theme I chose to depict my uncle’s sign: Ox.


The background’s a rich red, good fortune’s color in Chinese culture. Again, I should have used a colored pencil…


I pained the face but this time I changed the order: instead of flesh mid-tone then red, yellow and blue the various areas of the face, I smeared the red, the yellow and the blue, mixed with just a hint of flesh and then started building on those blotches.

(At this point I felt the chill run down my spine). The red background was somehow not too collaborative and I had a hard time keeping the colors in place but I didn’t let this stop me and in the end, giving the colors more time to dry, I had what I was looking for: smooth transitions and rich tints.




For the hair I chose brown but applied a dark green first. I used the same dark green as base color for the dress and (later) for the eyes.


On the background I wanted something which could remind Chinese ceiling decoration and chose a thick black and a flower motif ( inspired by an ancient silver bowl I saw on a Chinese art book I have).



Before covering both the paintings with transparent varnish (to protect the painting as well as the back of the board) I added here and there touches of iridescent acrylic paint: green for the Ox and light blue for the other.

Oh, in case you were wondering, they have a title:


The Ox Lady


2 thoughts on “Let’s sum it up!

  1. They are really great art works.
    Beautiful and interesting!
    I feel that you really enjoyed with and concentrated on them.
    They must be glad to see the works.

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