My Journey Creating the “Protector” Painting

I am so excited to finish this new painting, “Protector.” It is the largest canvas I’ve painted to date.

And it was quite a journey, so I thought I would share my process with you.

I purchased the large canvas, 3′ x 5′ on Mother’s Day, 2017.  My mom and daughter both lived out of state, so this was going to be a quiet day and I decided I would go to Blick Art Store as my Mother’s Day treat.  I’m pretty much like a kid in a candy store at an art supply store. Who isn’t?!

I was thinking I would get a mid-sized canvas for a landscape with trees and deer that I had been working on in my sketchbook, so I decided to just drive our little compact car instead of our van.  When I was in the store browsing, they had just gotten in a group of larger canvases and I really liked the configuration of this 36″ x 60″ canvas.  I had a wonderful sales person who helped me get the canvas in my little car, with not an inch to spare. 🙂

I started thinking about the winter storms and the forest, and started sketching one of my protective “Wildish Spirit” characters sheltering young fae children and animals under her cape. So many of my pieces are feminine figures sheltering young animals from harm, so this piece evolved from that feeling of compassion and maternal love, too.

From that Idea, I started sketching child fae characters in my sketchbooks and once I had a few drawn, I started building them into the large sketch.  I shot a picture of the sketch with my camera and resized it to fit the canvas.  I finally printed it out on my 8 1/2 x 11 printer in about a dozen sheets of paper then spent about an hour taping them all together…

Once I had the sketch together, I started painting the background. (January of 2018.)  I hung the canvas on the wall in my studio as it was too big to fit on my easel.

I taped white paper behind the painting to protect the wall, but the tape didn’t want to stay, and after re-taping it about 50 times, I gave up and pulled it down.  And yes, I got paint all over the wall…I am NOT a neat painter. I think it’s the Scorpio in me. 🙂

As I painted the piece, I actually added in even more little sweet fae children and animals in spots that seemed to just need them.

I blocked in everything and then started in painting all the little details… and there were quite a few!

At last, they started to get some personality.  I added woodland animals in and around the children. I used pictures of my grandnephews, friends, and my daughter when she was a child, as loose reference as well as sketches that came from my imagination.   I wanted all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors for the children.

I worked on the protective fairy figure’s face last. Like many of my characters, she came out with reddish locks like me. 🙂

Through the course of painting this, I thought of many things that were going on in our world and in my life.  I live in Southern California, so the children who were were being separated from their parents at the border was something I thought about a lot while I was painting. Just the thought of being separated from my daughter and not knowing where she was terrified me.  Being in a foreign country would have really increased that terror.

I worked on smaller paintings in between this painting and spent a bit of time traveling and visiting my parents and sister as we were getting their house ready, putting it on the market, and then moving them in with my sister.

Throughout my painting process, I texted my mom updates.  She lived far away from me, so we would text back and forth as she really enjoyed seeing my art process.  She would always be so encouraging as I texted her updates and this painting had lots of updates.  In the spring of 2019, I had painted all of the purple haired little ones (her favorite color) when she got sick and went into the hospital.  The picture above was the last picture I texted to her.  She passed away on May 8th, 2019.  I was very fortunate to get to spend a lot of time with her in March and April along with my sister and dad,  When I came home after her memorial service, I had a pretty hard time getting back to painting, the studio was just too quiet for me. I didn’t paint for about three months.

I subscribe to Hyperallergic.com (I highly recommend subscribing) and in July, I was getting caught up on my emails that I had ignored for months and I read an article by Karen Chernick about an Italian painting, “Mother of the Innocents” by Domenico di Michelino from 1446.  Here is a link to the article.  https://hyperallergic.com/502238/the-innocents-of-florence-institute-of-the-innocents/

The article was about a film about the conservation and history of the painting.  The painting was commissioned by the Institute of the Innocents, and had been found in their archives.  It was being restored in Florence, Italy by two women conservators, Elizabeth Wicks and Nicoletti Fontana.  David Battistella created a documentary film The Innocents of Florence, the quest to save 600,000 Children about the conservation of the painting and the history of the orphanage that commissioned the painting. It was shown in Florence and I hope it makes it’s way here to Los Angeles as I would love to see it.

This article really spoke to me. As I looked at the pictures of the painting, googled even more pictures of it, read about it’s history, and the history of the orphanage… I knew I needed to finish my painting.  It was like this huge voice in my head was saying to me, it’s time to get back to your art.

While searching the web about the painting, I also read this article on Medium.com by Shauna McGinn.  https://medium.com/@mcginnshauna/a-reflection-on-the-innocents-of-florence-8f64f7a9530e A beautifully written article with many thoughts I shared while researching and learning about the history of this painting.

Here is another picture of my finished painting.

As soon as I finished my painting, I was asked to share it at a district meeting for Business and Professional Women in Burbank, CA. It was set by the main stage of the event and lots of attendees took their pictures with it.  (Which I totally loved!) I got such great feedback about the painting and many attendees asked if I was going to make prints of it… Hmmm…something I am thinking about.  I am also looking into other venues to share my painting, so if you have any ideas, please let me know.

I encourage you to link to these two articles that I mentioned above and view the historic painting that inspired me to finish my painting.   And, as always, I would love to hear your thoughts.

I wish you a wonderful, creative, day,  Janell

In Memory of My Mom, Janie Sills, 1942-2019

I’ve been taking a few months off from social media and my blog as my mom passed away on May 8th, and I have been busy with family, and quite honestly, I just haven’t felt up to writing or painting.

I took a three month break from painting, but I am back in the studio again and feeling inspired. I know my mom would want me to continue to create art as she was one of my biggest fans. I miss her so much. She lived in Oregon, and I live in Southern California, so I would text her pictures at the end of each painting session so she could see my progress. She would always respond with words of encouragement.

One of my favorite photo;s of the two of us – And we are in our nightgowns! 🙂

Another favorite, just a few years later 🙂 at my Niece’s wedding.

She was born in December on the family farm in Nashville, Arkansas. This is is the first picture of her, she is about 3-4 months old.

She was the youngest of four children and was definitely the baby of the family. Just like I was… 🙂

She was quite the little farm girl. You should have seen all the pictures of her with cows that I saw while I was looking for this family photo. 🙂 She named all of the animals on the farm.

I believe she is 11 in this next picture. She is holding her first “store bought” doll that her sister, Jo bought for her.

 

She was a blonde when she was a little girl. She is the little one in the front with the black ribbon in her hair.

Her teen years, the 1950’s.

She graduated from Ashland High School in 1959, Ashland, OR.

She loved animals, especially cats!

She married my dad, the love of her life on her 18th birthday. They were married for 58 years.

Our family… I am the redhead on the left in both pictures. My sis and I are 11 months apart, and we had the greatest childhood, growing up in a small town (Hilt, Ca) right on the border of Oregon and California.

This picture of the four of us was from a couple years ago.

My Mom was a secretary and could type faster than I could talk! I used to dictate my term papers for high school and college to her. She was the secretary for the First Baptist Church while I was growing up and then she worked at the hospital and for a radiologist office before retiring.

She loved social media, especially Facebook. If I didn’t check for her posts during the day, within a few hours, she would be calling me to say… Did you see what I posted? 🙂 I really miss all of her posts and comments.

My mom had an incredible singing voice, she sang alto and could harmonize with anyone and really enjoyed singing in church. We grew up singing in the car, even if it was just a short five minute trip, we managed to sing at least one song. This is her performing in a musical at church.

Purple was her and my dad’s favorite color. It became our families favorite (especially their granddaughters), so there was plenty of it around!

She had four grandchildren and was a wonderful grandmother. This is her with my daughter, baking her wonderful chocolate chip cookies.

I took this photo on a visit to Oregon. My grandmother is pictured here with my aunt and mom. My mom is holding my nephew, Brandon and my aunt is holding my daughter. Their cousin Rachel is down in front.

After a long day of shooting (with film), I had a few shots left on the roll. Mom and dad were visiting, so my husband took this picture of the three of us,

With her two oldest grandkids when they were little, they now have young children.

At the Oregon beach with her oldest granddaughter

With my sis…They color coordinated in this one! 🙂

She had four grandchildren, five great grandsons and the sixth great grandson was just born a few weeks ago. We were fortunate to have our mom with us for many years, even though we wish she would have stayed with us a lot longer.

Here she is having fun playing with one of her great grandson’s.

And snuggling with another.

Below is a copy of the last page of her memorial service announcement. The Oregon coast was one of her most favorite places and she spent many summer vacations at Harris Beach, in Brookings, OR, with family and friends.

Our mom’s voicemail message always ended with “I probably love you.”

Thanks for reading and indulging me with my memories. I am looking forward to getting back to blogging about my art process and catching up on reading everyone’s posts on WP.

Have a wonderful, creative, day, –Janell

A Fairy Painting on Wood

A sweet fairy with her woodland friend.

Wood is becoming my favorite surface for painting pieces of my “Wildish Spirit” series.

It is also interesting to work with more organic shaped surfaces.

I have a stack of burl’s and slices of wood that I found in my dad’s shop that I am sanding and prepping to paint. I also have a few arborist friends who have cut me some slabs from dead trees they removed.

So, it looks like I will be exploring this substrate a lot this year. I am looking forward to creating lots of paintings in 2019.

Have a wonderful, creative, and joyful day, Janell

Happy Creative Holidays!

Happy New Year!

It seems I have been celebrating non stop lately.  We have quite a few birthdays in our family during November and December that take us right up to Christmas.  So it is a busy time of year for me.  But I do enjoy all the celebrations and time spent with family.  I created this snowman painting for my sis for her birthday.  She loves snowmen and having a November birthday is perfect timing.

I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and wish you a wonderful New Year filled with lots of creativity!

One of the fun things I enjoy this time of year is painting holiday windows.

Reindeer window painting by Janell Mithani

Gnomes and reindeer were two of my favorite characters this year.

I’m looking forward to a new year filled with lots of new paintings and creative projects.  January is one of my favorite months, I do a bit of reflecting on what I created in the last year and make a few lists of new or continuing projects for the new year. I enjoy the process and the feeling of a fresh start to new creative endeavors.

I hope you have a wonderful, creative, and joyful New Year! Janell

 

Woodland Fairy Painting in Process

I have been working on this large 6 foot painting for the past few months.  I am still far from finishing it, but I thought I would share a few photo’s of my process and how this painting is progressing.

The canvas was so large, it wouldn’t fit on my easel, so I hung it on the wall.  I put paper behind the painting to protect my wall as I am a very messy artist! 🙂

 

I am now blocking in all the little fairies and sprites that the fairy is protecting under her cape.

 

I went back and re-worked some of the background and trees.

An angled view…

The little ones are starting to look like fairies and sprites! 🙂  I am enjoying creating all of their little faces and personalities.

I still have a lot more to paint. My goal is to finish by the end of the year.  That gives me about two more months. I have been working on smaller paintings while I am creating this one, and will probably continue with that schedule.

I hope you are enjoying this fall weather and have a Happy Halloween!

Have a wonderful, creative, and joyful day, Janell

 

 

 

What’s on my Easel Today

It has been a busy summer, and I haven’t shared much of what I have been doing in the studio.

Poppies2L

These are a few smaller paintings I have created.

MermaidPaintingLW

And this new painting from my Nostalgia series.

DressFormsPaintingLW

I also finalized my sketch and began working on a 3 x 6 foot painting from my “Wildish Spirit” series..

PrintofSketchesWL I combined about 25 drawings from my sketchbook of all the children under her cape.  I then tile printed it out on my 8 1/2″ x 11″ printer and taped them all together. I’ll just say it took me a while! 🙂 I am really excited about this painting, it has been a long thought process to create it.

WorkInProgressLW Here is the painting in progress, The canvas was too big to fit on my easel, so I hung it on the wall.  I am still working on the background, but I am going to start adding the figures this week.  (That big mess on my table is a fairy garden in process.)

With my Achilles tendon surgery this spring, I had gotten behind on varnishing my paintings. The good thing about this is if I do a few paintings all at once, I don’t have to wash my varnishing brush so often. 🙂

Varnishing A Mermaidl

VarnishingpaintingsL

I also have a video of my varnishing process on my Facebook page if you are interested in seeing how I do this process.  It is of my “Carousel” painting. Here is the link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/JanellMithaniArtist/videos/10155436508417021/

I hope you are having a productive summer, too!   I would love to hear what you have been doing.

Have a wonderful, creative, joyful, day! Janell

 

 

Posted in Art

Flowers on my Canvas

This painting began during a painting workshop as my demo painting. A few weeks later, I finished it in my studio.

I do love Painting flowers.

I hope you are having a fun summer.

Have a wonderful, creative, joyful, day! – Janell

Posted in Art