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


Sunday, 19 June 2011

Drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrum roll.......................... Ta da!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, here it is -  The first in my series of Vintage Teddy bears, which as I mentioned in my previous post, dried far more quickly than I had expected and so I was able to varnish and frame it in time for Fathers Day!

The painting is of my Dad's teddy bear, which he has had since he was around three years old.
I thought it would be a sentimental but fun subject to paint and so, with the help of Mum, I secretly borrowed the bear while he wasn't looking ;0)

Apparently, he did question where the bear was at one point, but Mum told him that it was in a drawer and luckily he didn't question it any further!

My plan was to paint a portrait of the bear in a style similar to that of the old masters - You know? With a really dark background and strongly lit from one side? I thought that the style might be quite fitting for the bears age!

I propped him on the table next to the large gilt framed mirror in my art room and used the frame as part of my composition - but using my artistic licence, I turned the mirror into a Monet painting, just for fun. 
I even copied the corner of an actual Monet painting from a book I have!

© Sandra Busby - and Claude!!
I thoroughly enjoyed forging Monet's signature - It turns out I am quite good at it! Hmm... Now there's an idea ;0)

I had thought of putting my own signature there instead, but decided that this painting was meant to be set in much older times, so Monet it was!

He also happens to be my favorite of the old masters, so it seemed quite fitting.

Of course it meant that once I signed the painting myself, it de-valued the painting by about one million pounds, lol! 
But, the sentimental value is worth far more :0)

© Sandra Busby
 I just love these old fashioned, jointed teddy bears. This one is stuffed SO full of straw that he feels quite solid! He has had several patches sewn on where the straw has started to poke through his particularly worn bits...

There is evidence, particularly behind his ears, that the bear was once covered in fur (a bit like my Dad really, lol! Actually, that's mean - my Dad isn't there yet ;0)) 

But, the bear is now almost completely bald! 
I wonder what he looked like before he lost it?

I hope that both the bear and the painting stays in the family for many years to come, and I hope that by immortalizing the bear, I have might have even made a family heirloom!

With this in mind, I thought that it would be nice to put some details about the bears history on the back of the painting...

© Sandra Busby

I hope you can read that! If not - it says:

Painted for my Dad, Ted Crumplin, born as James Edward.
This is Dad's childhood teddy-bear, given to him by his Mum, Molly, when he was about three years old.
He was small enough that he remembers the bear dragging along the floor when he held it.
He later removed the bears roar because he didn't like it!
The bear is still lovingly kept today, some sixty-three years later and he currently sits on Dad's dressing table!
Happy Fathers Day Dad!
Love you lots, from Sandy-Pops xxxx (That's what he always used to call me - still does from time to time!)

By the way, the splodge next to my name is my thumb print :0)

So - Should this painting ever end up in a loft some day, dusty and forgotten, perhaps someone will discover it and learn the story of the painting along with a little family (and bear) history too!

If you didn't see my last post, you might want to look at it now as it gives lots of info on how I went about the painting, right from the very first sketch!

I enjoyed every single brush stroke of this painting and I really hope that it shows :0)


  1. I'm lost for words Sandra, this is awesome!!! It is amazing to think that this is your first using oils. I LOVE the style (dark background and strong shadows) and the whole thing is just perfect. Your Dad will be thrilled to bits. Outstanding job - well done!!!

  2. Wow! WOW! I love the story behind it, I love the frame, but most of all I love the painting! It shows the love for your Dad and the joy you had painting this. Wonderful!

  3. Beautiful and tender...what a marvellous nuances! Arianna

  4. You did a great job with the oils! I'm so impressed! I'm also interested in knowing how you liked oil paint compared to watercolor? This is a beautiful painting.

  5. I had to come back to say that, speaking as a Dad, this would mean far more to me than anything that could be bought from a shop. He's a lucky man. ;-)

  6. John - I can't thank you enough for your kind words in your two comments. It really meant a lot, so thank you :0) You are right and he really does love the painting. It was so lovely to watch him open it and he really was thrilled and surprised :0D

    Judy - Thank you so much! I know I have said it before but I feel SO differently when I paint things that are sentimental, or paint just for fun and I really do think it effects the end result :0)

    Arianna - Thank you very much! It really was an adorable subject to paint and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it :0D

    Katherine - Thank you so much! I'm so glad you think it's good :0) I enjoyed being able to blend the oils and work with them for so long. The only thing is, once I had finished blending, I did get a little frustrated with waiting for them to dry. Watercolour is SO different, but I enjoy both medums in a different way. (landscape isn't one of them, lol!) I like the way watercolour blends wet in wet, which we can't do with oils. If I had to choose one medium forever, I think I would go for acrylics! :0)

  7. WOW WOW WOW.. A triple WOW for this.. I mean look at this. This is such a great work. And the references here and there are so great. And this is your first oil.. You must be kidding. I think your dad must be thrilled and proud.

  8. Sandra, the story, the painting ... everything is absolutely perfect! You are a most thoughtful and loving daughter!!!

  9. Oh Sandra it does!!! This is COMPLETELY AMAZING!!! I love the bear, it looks exactly like an old master painting!! And the story is just perfect. I'm not a Dad but I'm a mom and if my boys ever put this much thought and effort into such a beautiful, heartfelt gift for me I would be over the moon!! I just love everything about it Sandra!! :):):):)

  10. P.S. I thought that Monet signature was VERY believable!! Such a great addition to the painting! I've been teaching my son to paint this summer and we've been studying the works of some of the master's and so far Monet's haystacks are his favorite. :)

  11. This has taken my breath away!
    What a wonderful painting, what a personal gift.. your dad can't help but to be delighted - and then some!

    Bravo, Sandra - its outstanding - in execution and sentiment! xx

  12. Hi Sandra, you really did a great job! The painting is simply fantastic and the story behind, too. Congratulations. Hug!

  13. Hey Sandra. This is excellent. I love the variation in the shadows, especially on their edges, and it's all very professionally finished. Great job.

    Your first Oil painting? That is impressive, it's a difficult medium to handle as neatly as you have done here. Inspiring.

    So we'll be seeing you on the next show of Show Me the Monet then?

    Look forward to seeing more.


  14. Prabal - Triple wows??? Wow, wow, wow! Thank you!!! That really is lovely to hear! I'm glad you like it. I was a little worried that I might built it up so much that you all might be disappointed! I'm glad that's not the case :0)

    Studio - Thank you very much! It's fun thinking about gifts. Once I get started I like to really go to town - So I even wrapped it in brown paper and string for the full 'old' effect, lol! :0)

    Crystal - Thank you so much! And it's so true that a present doesn't have to cost much, sometimes even anything, to mean a lot. I am certain that your kids will be the same - how could they not be with your influence?
    As for the signature - I must say that even I was surprised with how genuine it looked, lol!
    I love Monet - Your son has good taste! :0)

    Pat - You are SO kind! Thank you so much! The response this one has got is so amazing, I can't tell you how chuffed I am, and I am sure my Dad will feel the same :0)

    Tito - Thank you very much! I love that you like it too :0)

    James - I really appreciate your lovely comment and I am so glad you think it looks proffessional, because I am really not!
    Wasn't that show, 'Show me the Monet' fantastic!!! You saw it too? You must be from the UK too then? :0D

  15. Sandra fantastic, a wonderful job, and Monet's signature is a small masterpiece!

    A hug and good evening!

  16. Yep, proud to be British!. I live in South Devon. I thought the show was really inspirational, especially considering many of them were self taught.

    I'm having a hard time with Oils though, I think it's the cheap canvas I am using, it’s so slippery, I think I need something with more tooth... what sort of canvas did you use for the bear?


  17. GREAT !!!! ..sandra bet your dad will love it .

  18. I love it, I love the tale behind it and think its fantastic your Dad still has this bear after all these years

  19. I've missed so much here lately, so had a quick catchup! I LOVE your bear Sandra. What a lovely choice for a first oil painting (something that'll stay in the family a long long time)I wish I had the same enthusiasm for oils :( sadly though, I really love my watercolours more. It's possibly the challenge I enjoy! I certainly learnt a lot with your step by step in your previous post, well done.

    Your dad is a lucky man to have this painting Sandra! A masterpiece! xx

  20. This is a stunning piece Sandra, absolutely 100% stunning. I'm speechless. What a lovely present for your Dad too! I wish I still had my bear :(

  21. Sandra!!!! I was so excited for Father's Day to come so I could see your first oil...and it is SIMPLY AMAZING!!!. your dad must be so moved, it's just fabulous. you are so good with oils!!! I'm so excited to see more! what a lovely idea and sentiment! a resounding success on every level! BRAVO!!

  22. Congrats on the successful painting. So adorable! was is difficult? Didyou take lessons? Well don Sandra

  23. Franz - Thank yo so much! I like the signature too. I really enjoyed that bit :0)

    James - What a lovely part of the country!
    I really enjoyed the show too. There is a new one now - It started yesterday on BBC1 and it's called 'Fake or Forge'. It was a fascinating programme, so if you missed the first one, see if you can catch it on BBC iplayer :0)
    The support I used for this painting was just a Reeves 16 x 20 canvas board. It worked for me but then having never used oils before, I wouldn't know if there were easier ones to work with. I have tried the oil/acrylic paper and I wasn't keen on that, I found that too slippery.
    My challenge is with watercolour! I find it very hard to get on with :0)

    Jane - Thank you! He was absolutely delighted with it! And he is really enjoying the comments too :0)

    Jill - Thank you very much! I like the story too, especially the bit where he removed the bears roar because he didn't like it! :0)

    Debbie - Thank you! I love watercolours too, and if I could pick one to be good at I would definitely pick watercolours! Still, maybe one day it will all just fall in to place. At the moment I am struggling to establish exactly what it is my tutor wants! :0)

    Michael - Thank you so much! I wish I still had my bear too, but he eventually lost almost all of his stuffing and pretty much fell apart! I took it everywhere with me so it was loved to death, lol! :0)

  24. Suzanne - Thank you so much! I was itching to know what you would think of it, being such a master of oils yourself! I am SO glad you like it! :0)

    Cathy - Thank you! I've never has any practical art lessons at all. I am doing a home learning course on watercolour, but I work from a folder and have never had an actual lesson for any type of art, apart from a short drawing course which I did about four years ago, which is where it all began. I wish I could get some proper lessons one day :0)

  25. It is lovelly here, I appreciate more now since moving back here from being in Bristol most my life.

    Yes I saw that show actually; they were trying to verify a Monet painting - how frustrating though, seems to be a bit of a conspiracy at the top of the Art tree.

    I personally don't get on with watercolour either, It lacks the depth and vitality that oil gives.

    I read something by Sargent once (I think it was him) - he said when you're working with oil you should try and get the effect of watercolour and with watercolour the effect of oil... or something like that. I think more can be done with oil colour though.

  26. James - I was really disappointed for that poor man after all those years of fighting. It is so clearly genuine! I really hope it gets accepted while he is still around!

  27. A round of applause, applause! Bravo!
    Like it? I loved it!
    A hug from the studio

  28. Wow! Did your Dad get misty? ; ) Sandra, what a great family treasure you've created for generations. It's great that you put the story on the back. I think you achieved the old-world look - the lighting is dramatic, the whole thing very rich. And Claude's signature is really good!! Kudos!

  29. I love it too.. and I know your Dad loves it.. beautiful.. take care, Diana

  30. Antonio - Oh, thank you!!! I'm so glad you like it! :0D

    Kim - Thank you! I am glad that you think I acheived the 'old' look! I hope that it will spark in a future family member, the interest my Dad has in family history :0)

    Diana - Thank you so much for popping in to see the finished bear! If only I could have your talent in watercolour! :0)

  31. What a wonderful painting and superb gift. Many, many thanks it was greatly appreciated. Just one little thing. I must say I was a just a little embarrassed that you revealed to the whole of cyberspace that I still have my Bear after 63 years! Never mind I let you off that one. You have a natural god given gift. Don't let the academics corrupt or destroy it. Far better you are guided by you bloggy friends, most of whom are superb artist. Feel encouraged that they want to follow your blog and offer advise.
    I repeat what I have said to you in the past. "Those who can, do. Those who cant, teach." Be true to yourself. Enjoy your art. I am straying from the subject which is to once again thank you. All my love Dad. XX

  32. Dad - Wow! It is SO lovely to read your comment!
    I enjoyed everything about the painting; the theme, the subject, the brush-strokes, choosing the frame, but most of all the reason for doing it :0)
    I so love my family and I love making you all proud! :0D xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  33. Hi Sandra,

    I tried to leave a post a couple of times, but got pulled away for one reason or another (dirty diaper, World War 3 that's the way it is with little people). Anyway, I am in love with your painting. First off I just love it and then I read about the sentimentality behind it. I am positive your Dad will love this and that this painting will be in your family for generations. What a wonderful tribute:)

  34. It's fabulous Sandra. I bet your dad was over the moon to receive it!

  35. Sandra, you have had so many lovely comments on this painting for all the right reasons. If my daughter had painted this for me, apart from being shocked, as she is good at art but doesn't practice it, I would be emotional.

    Your work is almost photographic, very precise and typically neat!

  36. I am sure when he saw this he was over the moon. It is such a beautiful painting and so full of sentiment and love. What more can I say that has not already been said by the 35 people before me. Thanks for the comment on my latest blog and I am now off to run and cycle and paint in Spain.

  37. Carrie - Thank you! I hope that one day someone in the family in distant future will still be looking after it :0)

    Sue - Thank you! Yes, he really was :0)

    Frank - Thank you! It's nice that it has received such a lovely response :0D

  38. What an incredible gift, a heart-warming story, and a beautiful painting! I can only imagine how much your Dad must have love this amazing piece of your heart. Thanks so much for sharing it all with us.

  39. Ralph - Thank you very much for popping in before you leave for your holiday. I'm glad you like the bear. Have a fantastic time away!! :0)

    Sandy - Thank you so much for such a lovely comment! :0)

  40. Sandra, great painting! The story and comments warm my heart.

  41. Liana - Thank you very much! I am glad you enjoyed the post :0)

  42. I love these paintings


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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