In my family we are a little crazy, a little goofy, and we channel that into doing a little of our own thing. It usually ends up being some kind of ugly face making contest, ten minute film, Funny Movie Maker, or the like. We quote each other more than we quote cult classic cinema. I need to write up a better background story on Petunia, my first painting, which is the character my sister made up to entertain the family. I was laughing the whole time I was painting Petunia which probably gave me more enjoyment that it did the family when they were surprised I made an oil painting of something so-not-serious. The bidding started at two pennies and ended at $17 with lots of interim family banter which was almost as fun as the painting itself. Okay, fine, the banter was more fun, but anticipating the banter was pretty fun, see?
Feeling a little bored and antsy with the doing still life art and wanting to use my art to connect with the family, once again, I asked two of my brothers which family classic I should paint next. My brother Marshal instantly knew he wanted me to paint Ryan as the personal trainer of our family video “Body by Ryan”. We laughed so much as we watched the movie together again, grabbed still shots from YouTube where we had it posted, and visualized which ones I might use.
It brought me so much joy to be painting the base layer and I posted the this in our family group on Facebook just to tantalize everyone. Some immediately recognized the character and others could see it once it was pointed out, but I was shocked that Jessy’s fiance, Chris, and my brother, Marshal, immediately started bidding while the painting was still in it’s preliminary stages ($10 and $15 respectively!). It was barely started, but I just couldn’t keep the secret very well. Here is what the painting looked like at that point.
It looked more like Voldemort than Ryan, right? He became human after the second layer and I showed everyone in the family group the progress. Again, I couldn’t keep any progress a secret, and was rather too excited for show and tell.
And then I was working on the final layer. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to blow everyone away. Although the family had seen progress all along and I worried that took something away from the finished product, I had a surprise, inside joke garnish that I was determined not give away till the very end. I spent a few hours doing the third layer and some of the colors ended up totally different, but It was looking good. It was getting to the point were each brush stroke was starting to look worse rather than better, and I thought, “I think I have done the best my skill level can do.”
There was just one more correction. Ugh! This latest attempt to fix his stubborn eyebrow which was being mistaken for hair didn’t work yet again, so I used my paintbrush and some paint thinner to undo my attempt and without realizing what was happening, the paint thinner was dripping down the entire canvas! Gasp! No! NoNoNoNoNo!! Hours lost! No! I thought of wiping the canvas and, thankfully, decided better of it once I imagined all those colors rubbing together and starting from scratch. Instead, I pressed the paper towel on the canvas and held it there hoping to absorb the paint thinner and preserve as much progress as possible, yet knowing in my heart that I had ruined most of it.
When I peeled the paper towel away, it was as if the image, looking more ragged, but surprisingly preserved, yelled, “Horrible!” right at me. Of course, I laughed and laughed because that was his famous tagline in the family movie. The painting now had more character and it was his character. This painting just came alive and it was perfect, and it was finished.
The next day, I added the garnish of kissy lips and lipstick exes. You had to see the family movie to fully appreciate this one….oh, wait, you can! It’s on YouTube. The movie is embedded below.
“Body by Ryan” 6×8 inches oil on canvas