Painting of the month is meant to be a behind the scenes look at one of our paintings. Sharing the back story of how it came to be, and some of the technique for those artist followers. Our September painting is “Broken” 11×14 canvas.
So “Broken” is one of those paintings I almost didn’t sell. It has a lot of personal attachment for me. I painted it last December. It was around when my parents had to put down the family dog, a golden retriever (I grew up with goldens. How I came to be boxer crazy is another story for another time).
Penny got cancer and deteriorated very quickly around Christmas. This is the first painting I did after having had to put her down. If you’ve ever had to experience that…putting down a dog…it sucks. No better way to put it. Nothing at all compares. It honestly feels like your heart has been ripped from your chest. Like you’re suddenly missing your soul. It feels like you are broken as a person. Something is missing.
This was the second time I experienced that feeling and I tried to capture it with this painting. I used a pale yellow background for Penny, and then splashed a rainbow of colors to get that rainbow bridge glow to it. I really wanted to capture hope as much as I captured the sadness of letting a dog go. You have to feel like you will see them again to get through it.
So that background was all done in spray paint. While it was still wet (cause it creates a slightly different effect) I used vitrail paint.
Now vitrail if you havent used it, is super expensive compared to regular acrylic. But it has this very viscous quality to it. I can’t quite describe it but it always reminds me of candy. Like if you could paint with a candy coating. When it dries it looks like it retains its liquid form. Like its perpetually in motion. Different colors react in different ways I have found. It really takes trial and error to get a grasp on how mixing certain colors will react and end up.
So Penny had very blonde, fluffy fur to her. It was one of those things you complained about getting on you and then missed terribly when she was gone. So the white vitrail captured that perfectly. And then I added to that while it was wet, the black, blood-red and deep purple splashes. Paired with the white, each performs differently. The blood red always just kinda settles and dies where it lands. That was just sadness to me. And then the darker black and deep purple tend to cut the white and give it a chaotic quality. That feeling of loss and not knowing where to go from here.
Overall, even though at the time I was very sad while painting this, I hoped to capture the spirit of Penny. She always had this kind of dumb founded, happy-go-lucky smile on her face. And this painting was everything in one: that sadness of putting a dog down, but knowing it was the best thing for her in the end. The happy memories. The regrets you didn’t have more time. Everything in one messy bundle. ..
I painted a couple more canvases right after this experience and kept one for myself. “Empty” is 11×14 and available in the Etsy shop.