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Peek into My Studio – A Tribute, Finishing, and Crying

I invite you to peek into my studio again even though this continues to be a difficult week to focus on art. I was able to turn some of the sorrow of losing my older brother into painting a tribute portrait of him to present to his wife. I also finished up my latest “Wine, Women, and Song” mixed media and laid the groundwork for starting another when I get back from the funeral. Most likely, I won’t post again until a few weeks from now as I will be traveling, and pretty sure painting is not on the agenda.

Tribute Portrait of My Brother

Feeling out of sorts, and not sure what to do with myself, I spent several days crying on and off and feeling no motivation whatsoever. I finally decided to turn that pain into paint and started a portrait of my brother to present as a gift to his wife.

I found a fairly recent picture of him taken when he visited us, and we took a train ride along the Pend Oreille River in Washington state. I liked the expression on his face. He looks inquisitive and that’s an apt description of his character.

Photo of the author's brother

I started with my usual process of laying in acrylic washes and then sketching the portrait with a charcoal stick. I then laid in the shadows using a blend of cadmium orange and viridian green. I progressed to the midtones using oil paint.

First draft portrait of the author's brother

I finished up the portrait with highlights and more detail. It was somewhat cathartic to paint this portrait. I felt like he was with me the whole time. I will miss him.

Finished portrait of the author's brother

Finishing Up

I did more work on the mixed media painting I’m titling “Not Dead Yet!” I defined the wine glass that had appeared within the background while I was painting. I added the hummingbird stencil to keep with the theme of “Wine, Women, and Song.”

Mixed media painting of a fashionable older woman raising a glass of wine.

I then submitted the painting to the Mastery Program coaches for feedback. They both suggested I remove the wine glass on the left side of the painting. I had rather liked that glass as it appeared to me out of nowhere when I was painting. They also suggested working more on the hand.

I took their advice and edited out the wine goblet. I added another hummingbird where the glass had been to hopefully unify this area, so it didn’t look so much like an afterthought. I did more work on refining her hand and painted her nails to match her lips. One of the coaches suggested I tone down the darks in her neck. I haven’t taken this step, but what do you think so far?

Mixed media painting of a fashionable older woman raising a glass of wine.


Art can be cathartic and healing. I have always said this but put it into practice with my brother’s passing. My sister-in-law asked me to do the eulogy at my brother’s service. I hope I can pull it off and convey the message of who he was as a person not only to our family but to the community.

Most likely it will be a few weeks before I’m able to get back in the studio, but thank you for continuing to follow my art journey and hopefully it brings inspiration.

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