Over four years ago Hubby and I visited Disneyland. While there we stopped in the art gallery on Main Street and ended up having a very long chat with the cast member who worked in the gallery about the paintings on display that were beautiful interpretations of classic Disney characters by various artists employed by Disney. It was wonderful to see the iconic characters revisited through the eyes of each artist. That conversation fanned the embers of the dormant creativity that was beginning to burn inside me again. As we wandered through Disney California Adventure later in the day, I conceived the idea of doing a series of mixed media shadowboxes that incorporated my own watercolor interpretations of different classic Disney characters into compositions with California poppies and call it my Disney California Poppy Series.
The first I created was Tinkerbell. It was a first in another way too because it was the first time I had painted with watercolors in a very long time. I reproduced the original painting into hi-res prints that I handcut, layered, glued to wood blocks, and embellished to create the shadowbox art below.
The Tinkerbell shadowbox hangs on my studio wall today as a reminder of what motivated me to begin creating and painting again.
I painted and created a shadowbox with Snow White next.
In order to have copies for my portfolio that I was slowly populating I also created digital versions of the shadowbox art in Photoshop (which is what you see above).
But I didn't share my work publicly. I guess I thought that because it was connected to Disney that I couldn't. I figured that unless I was an official licensed Disney artist I wouldn't ever be able to share my work with others beyond my family and close friends. So I've kept my paintings private for all these years. That insecurity about sharing them eventually led to me abandoning the rest of the series all together. I put away the many sketches that were all ready and waiting for me to paint them and bring them to life with full color.
Since that time, I've watched as social networking platforms such as Pinterest have caused an upsurge in the sharing of art. As I've nosed around I've come across many beautiful reinterpretations of Disney characters (click here to see some). Some of my favorites have been of the iconic character Mary Poppins (click here to see some).
It finally hit me that I probably should share my own work even if I wasn't an official licensed Disney artist!
That's the first big leap I'm taking with this post. The second big leap is that I'm also sharing a work-in-progress that I need to finish (something I rarely do). It's always been hard for me to share unfinished works or rough drafts of anything. I drove my college art history professors crazy because I'd never want to show them my papers in rough form. If I was ever a published author (something I'd like to be someday) I'd probably drive my editors nuts too, so I really need to overcome this tendency.
So taking my cues from illustrators I admire, and I am sharing a piece of art before it is complete.
This is Alice on a Golden Afternoon in the California Poppy Series. I'm thinking she won't become a shadowbox. Instead I'll complete the painting of each character and then digitally marry them against a background I paint once I know what I want.
Picking up where I left off after years of a hiatus is going to be tricky, but I think I can do it. Alice is my next big creative hurdle I must clear. Wish me luck.