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The Making of: "Birthday Wish"

I started "the Birthday Wish" from a photo of Sam Gentile, the son of Shawn and Jennifer ( Jenny being a former neighbor of mine in Illinois). It was so sweet and Norman Rockwell-ish!

It also presented a challenge for me. First, because I have not done watercolor portraints and also because of the severe lighting fro the six candles sitting in the birthday donut. Because of the light I started with a wash of Winsor yellow to bring in the warm light of the flames.

I then started to add some detail. Having not dealt with skin tones at all I consulted a couple of books for suggestions. Of course the skin tones are also not under normal

circumstances, either. I knew I had to go dark with the hair in shadow. I added some blue to the mix to push it back some. There is also some cobalt on the nack and a tiny bit where the hand on the left goes behind the table.

Next I added the edge of the table and the chair. The table has a wooden edge with green tiles on the top. I also started painting in the shirt. To get a softer red I used Organic Vermillion. It goes nicely with the Burnt Sienna and Quin Gold used for the wooden areas.

Birthday wish7.jpg

I used a sponge to texture the surface of the tile areas. The shadow for the plate has been added and the rest of the shirt done. I sadly managed to put my hand down on wet paint in the shadow so I had to go back ond fix it. The walls are kind of a gray purple. Darker below the chair rail and lighter above.

I put some color in on the back wall. The color is good but the value is

too light. I will have to go back in and darken all of the background. It just did not get dark enough.

I then added another layer of texture to the tiles. More green done with a sponge. The grout lines were softened and I began giving them some color.

The masking fluid that was keeping the candles, donut, plate and grout white was removed and i painted in more definition on the plate and donut.

Last I added the shadow of the chair as it hits the wall and turns the corner.

Sign and done!

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