The Art of Sandra Busby...
Painter of Playful Light in Glass and Still Life


Sunday, 3 October 2010

Daddy's Home!

Well, here it is - that long awaited 'shoe painting'! 

© Sandra Busby. Watercolour.

Actually, I completed this several days ago.  I was just reluctant to post it - mainly because I had shared with all of you such expectations in which I would finally produce a still life, with 'life'! 
Well, I do believe I have done that, it's just that the vision I had in my head, is entirely different to what I see on the paper! 
Now, I'm not sure if I like it or not. I don't hate it... Um... I'm just not sure! What do you think?

In a recent post by Crystal Cook, she talked about how sometimes it is a good idea to make lists of what you like about your work and why we paint. I thought about this for a while and decided to note what I do like about the painting rather than focusing on what I don't.

So - I like the sentiment behind the painting. I like the title I gave it too - 'Daddy's Home'. I like that my brush strokes were lively and not over cautious as they usually are, I like that it is very different to what I have done before and I like that I am one step closer to creating paintings with an individual style.

Crystal didn't mention listing the things you don't like - I'm sure that is definitely not what she had in mind! But me, being me will do that anyway - and that actually helped me to get my head around the painting because I realised that there is nothing about the painting I really don't like, but rather things that I am simply 'uncomfortable' with. 
The style is very different than my usual, which is surely not a bad thing - but I suppose I am naturally more of a realist, so this type of painting feels quite alien to me. I find myself wondering that if someone else had painted it, whether I would then really like it..?

Unusually for me, I stood to paint the shoes. This helped me to stand back and 'lunge' with my brush! Okay, so I didn't really lunge, but, I do think that standing helped me to let go a little!
The painting filled a large sheet of A2 paper, which was almost completely upright on an easel to encourage drips, though I actually mopped them up when they occurred because I thought that they just didn't look right. 

Because the shoes were sitting on and expanse of neutral coloured carpet on a dull day, I had to make up a background and exaggerate the light.  I deliberately left my rough pencil marks in and used loose translucent brush marks and spatters to suggest a wet, textured tiled floor, dirtied by the shoes. 
I used fresh, clean washes on the little shoes, yet deliberately muddied up the faded old work boots. For those, I used more layers of pigment, which I then lifted off in places with damp cotton wool to help describe those faded areas - Quite effective... I think? 

If I could change something now, I think another small item such as a bunch of keys or a small toy in the picture would have helped - odd numbers of items definitely help a composition. 

I think I will get very mixed reviews on this painting. My husband was very unsure at first. He doesn't get the whole 'spattering' thing. Having said that, the painting seems to have grown on him and he says he now actually quite likes it!

Yesterday morning I sketched my husbands other boots - his newer ones, which were sitting in the hallway. It took around ten minutes.

Pen and Ink

How ever much I try to talk myself into liking the painting - I still prefer this pen sketch!


  1. Oh I get first comment. Honestly, I'm glad you posted, I like the experiment especially with back ground, the pen sketch has more vibrancy. Sorry.

  2. Ok first of all I like it, really like it. the subject , the title, the painting itself. You are like me, we feel like we should always have done more or that its not quite finished and oh those splatter, "I like it on someone elses' but maybe not mine" yes, if someone else had painted it you would be saying .." oh wow, wish I had done that !!!! " ps you sketch is good too.

  3. Very nice painting the part where the top of the boots meets the backgound looks really well and I also like how you delt with the shadow on the childs shoes. Nice to see your having fun and experimenting trying new things.

  4. This is very cute and very well done too. As per the sketch, black lines against white background are always very interesting. And there are pleasant imperfections in sketches. So I think its natural that we all end up liking sketches better.

  5. Well as you know, I've been eagerly awaiting this painting Sandra, especially as you have been telling us how you are going to let yourself go with your brush work. So, am I disappointed? Well, it is different from your usual style, definitely looser, but I'm guessing you spent a fair few hours on this one.
    The idea of daddy's shoes next to the tiny ones of his daughter makes a lovely and slightly amusing subject.
    You say that you are unsure about the work because it didn't turn out quite like you thought it would or as you visualised it in your head? But the way I see it is that every watercolour painting is a journey into the unknown, because you are never really sure how things are going to turn out and you always discover something new along the way.

    As for the dribbles, I am not really keen on them and think they are something of a gimmick, so I'm glad you wiped them.

    Let's get one thing clear right now, this in my opinion is a huge leap forward in the style of your watercolours. Though you've gone into a lot of detail making it look very slightly restrained, the painting looks right and feels right.

    I really like it.

  6. Sue - Thank you! And no apology necessary! It seems everyone likes such different things. The painting has really grown on me since I posted it :0)

    Barbra - Thank you :0) I think that doing something so different felt quite scary! The more I look at it, the more I like it which I find really surprising! I'm even more surprised that you sometimes doubt your own beautiful work!

    Dan - I did enjoy throwing paint and water around for a change instead of being so careful. I think I could get used to it! I'm guessing that because I was so unsure about the painting, my tutor will probably love it! Lol!

    Prabal - I like sketches too. They just look so much more spontaneous. I think that this water-colour painting does have a personality though that my others haven't, so I think I'm heading in the right direction. I love hearing all of these differing opinions - It's really interesting :0)

  7. Frank - Just as you have been eagerly awaiting this painting, I have also been eagerly awaiting your comment! I completely agree with everything you have said. It is still slightly restrained, but I agree that it is a huge leap forward too. I think it does help to have a quirky subject with some meaning behind it and this helped me to inject a little personality in to the painting. I am delighted that you like it Frank - You have really made my day :0D

  8. Love it! I do - that's not a flip comment - it really is good. I have no preconceptions about your style as I am only a new follower. Whatever you do is you to me :)
    I also like the pen sketch.

    The only thing I might do with both is to really deepen the shadow just under the sole. (the left hand child's shoe as you view has it) That might anchor both sets of boots (painting and sketch) even more.

  9. lovely the texture you have created on the larger shoes and the small one is cute!

  10. Pat - Thank you very much! I had mixed feelings about it as you know, but I actually like it now, far more than I did at first. I think I have got used to it. I'm not sure I have 'found' my style yet, but I think this is definitely a step closer than I was :0)

    Sparrowhawk - Thank you very much! I am glad you like it too :0)

  11. I like the painting. Soooo cute sweet, what a great subject. Enjoy your time!

  12. I was waiting to see the finish sketch Sandra,
    the post's head id perfect and the shados ,backgro color all are nice and perfect...

  13. Hi Cathy - Thanks so much for popping by and for your kind comment too :0)

    Anudeepa - Thank you so much. You are very kind. I'm glad you like it :0)

  14. I like this a lot. Sandra, it was a great idea and you've pulled together a great painting and you did some experimenting along the way. Fabulous. It is never easy to show a painting we aren't very pleased with ourselves so I'm pleased that it's growing on you. It should - we all like it.

  15. John - That's kind, thank you. I always try to keep my blog as honest as possible so I try to post everything. I realise now that all of the bad pieces of work aren't failures at all, they're just lessons and stepping stones to becoming a better artist :0)

  16. Sandra, I ABSOLUTELY love it! It has feeling that really pulls at any parents heart. And I do really like how you've loosened up your brushstrokes. I can see it on his boots and the background. It's gorgeous!

    You've done a fantastic job, and you should feel very proud.

    P.S. I actually think it's a good idea to list some of what you don't like about your work. It really helps you grow, I just tend to dwell on those too much, as do a lot of artists I think :)

  17. Crystal - You are really kind :0)
    It's funny how I see the painting entirely differently than I did at firt. Even though some people didn't like it, I am actually quite proud of it now, which is great! :0D

  18. Hi Sandra, sorry, I did not see this watercolor before (I have too much friends to follow and from time to time....), it looks to me really well done, particularly the light looks fantastic.
    By the way I have just posted on my blog a similar subject. Un abbraccio.

  19. Tito - Thank you! I am off to see your blog right now!!! :0)

  20. hi sandra i loved this subject ..i've kept my girls first baby shoes :)you've painted the shoes beautifully ... you should try and paint it again keeping in mind all the things you like about it .

  21. Hi Jane - Thank you! I'm glad you like it too :0)
    I am working on an acrylic painting at the moment, but I might well try another shoe painting!

  22. Oh my goodness! How have I not noticed this blog before? It's wonderful! I LOVE these boots and shoes! I'll be back!

  23. Katherine - What a LOVELY thing to say! You really have made my day. Hope to see you again soon :0D

  24. Hi Sandra,
    I've missed your blog of late as I've been buried with show stuff but am so very pleased with your latest piece! I just smiled the second I saw it. It sings of happy things and family and your techincal skills allow the viewer to simply enjoy the painting. Thank you for sharing it; it is a joy.

  25. Hi Sandy - Wow! Thank you! I am just SO delighted that you like it :0) I was uncomfortable with it at first but it has really grown on me. Thank you for coming in and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it :0)

  26. Thanx for droping by FFW, i always enjoy hearing from you. This is as always just lovely. I like the colours behind the shoes.

  27. Hi Melanie - Thankyou very much! :0)

  28. Me ha gustado mucho el tratamiento de la luz y el tema. Una hermosísima acuarela. Saludos.

  29. Pasto - Muchas gracias por visitar mi blog y por tu comentario hermosa! Espero verte pronto de nuevo: 0)


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! Where possible I will respond via email. I really do love to read them! They always make me smile ;0)


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