The Gem Under The Ferns

Some paintings seem to have a rough journey to completion. This one was up there with some of the toughest I’ve ever attempted. Here is part one of a poorly planned painting gone wrong:

I should stress that the poor planning was completely on my part! My client chose a very adorable sketch that I had quickly done up of a fawn hiding under some ferns. I didn’t give a lot of thought in choosing actual colors and perspective before I dived in. But dive in I did.

Background was hurriedly painted and I drew the outline of the fawn.


Then I thought, “It is a forest scene so it needs a stump.” So slap on a stump I did. It was horrendous and huge!

*Please ignore the clutter behind my easel. I have little kids…’nuff said.)


Then I thought to myself, “This stump needs moss.” By then I was so horrified at how awful it looked I wiped it all off!


At this point I realized it would never work… the way the fawn was positioned, the weird little tree in the distance, the massive empty space at the bottom of the canvas. So I sent my client a photo and she agreed with me! I waited for it to dry well and then sanded the whole thing down and started over.

And so began part two of trial and error:


I very carefully made a new sketch to the exact dimensions of the canvas. I used math people!


The new background. Pretty boring and bland…as it should have been.


A bigger fawn with bigger ears and bigger eyes. It took four tries for me to get it in the right position on the canvas! I used math again…. it was awful.


Finally things fell into place and I finished the rest in two painting sessions.




At this point my client was pleased and I was over the feeling of doom!


The finished piece! Perseverance, encouragement from a dear friend, experimenting, and a whole lot of patience and studying made it work out in the end. And now I can’t wait to tackle my next piece!

I am currently at an art & craft retreat and so excited for some kid free time to immerse myself in something.

Have a great weekend!