Palo Alto Festival of the Arts, August 2009
For our seventh year in Palo Alto, we planned to do "something simple, since we always see lots of people we know and we'd rather not be too stressed." Instead, we ended up with one of the more complicated paintings we've done to date, an imagined vista of what a bug sees when under the magnifying glass. Our subjects were our nieces Alex and Catie and an unnamed fig beetle. Fig beetles are in the scarab family and are related to June beetles. Western fig beetles appear around here at the end of August--just in time for this painting. They're big and shiny and so clumsy they're cute, especially when they run into our house trying to fly around the back yard. Other than the fig beetle and the far background photo, all photos were taken at the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, where Cheryl volunteers every week.
A Bug's Eye View concept
Wayne transfers a strip of the traced image to the street by dusting powdered chalk through tiny holes in the paper. We "double-pounced" this painting, putting down an initial set of lines with just the main areas indicated so we could paint in the sky, then going back over the painting to transfer all the details.
Alex' face partly done. She doesn't actually have green eyes, but in the photo they looked more green than blue.
We spent most of the first day working on the two faces, the text around the edges, and the largest of the flowers. We were aided on the calligraphy by our friend Fred and our neighbor Sean.
Sunday morning status, before we got to work. Lots to do!
At the time we arrived, rays of sunlight were hitting the painting in a most realistic manner, so the flower looked like it really did have sunlight shining through it. Serendipity.
Alex and Catie were not bald for long, as Wayne added their tresses first thing Sunday morning. That's Fred in the background, helping our friend Alice with her Mucha painting.
Closeup of Alex.
Wayne looks like he's having a good time.
Sunday morning: Wayne moves on from hair to clothing, while Cheryl specializes in coneflowers.
Cheryl is having a good time painting flowers.
Coneflowers floating in air. Wayne paints Catie's grey sweater.
Wayne paints Catie's sweater. She borrowed the sweater from her grandmother, so it was a little big for her--hence all the wrinkled fabric.
Wayne accidentally smeared the text a bit, so we brought in our master calligrapher Fred to fix it up while Wayne finished up Catie's wrinkly sweater.
Cheryl started work on the fig beetle, getting the base colors in before adding its glow and shine with highlights.
Here's how it turned out after Cheryl and Wayne both added bright highlights.
Here's how the painting looked from the other side of the street. Because we started with a photo taken with a fisheye lens, we didn't skew the image further, so it looked good from all vantage points.
Our nieces couldn't make it to this festival, but our nephew Nolan got to come and help Uncle Wayne work on the flowers and foliage.
Sean returned to help Wayne and Nolan with the background foliage scribbles.
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