Painting a Teddy Bear

March is my month to get back into my art. I have challenged myself to practise sketching daily and to complete a painting every week. Last week an owl appeared. This week it’s been teddy bears – and a dragon or three, but they can wait.

Two Teddy Bear sketches were made in my A4 sketch book:

A plump Teddy Boy was quickly followed by an equally round Teddy Girl

I thought they had potential – so I went on and made another, smaller, sketch of the girl, which in turn, went on to become a watercolour painting. Here she is, about one third of the way through

Of course, being me, I forgot to record anything else til she was

Finished

Painted on an A5 sheet of 300gsm watercolour paper using watercolor paints, graphite pencil and white and black pens. The balloons are finished off with a little touch of the shimmery stuff……..

I then had some smaller prints made and turned them into cards. A fortuitous mistake by the woman at the print shop gave me a bonus close-up image

I’m also pleased to report that this week saw the completion of a wip that has sat in my basket for two years. I’d kind of forgotten about it for most of the two years. Two years!! (hangs head in shame) In the end it took ten minutes to finish the row of daisy stitches I had decided to do on the back yoke. This is my first garment made using Tunisian crochet and vaguely following a pattern in my how-to book. I am rather fond of the weave like texture you get from this technique.

The photo on the left is closer to the true colour.

I also framed the owl as a frame makes anything look better. Also, in my house it’s hard to capture anything without the addition of a few sparkles from a light catcher …….

Here’s Siddy caught watching something interesting on TV. Orlando doesn’t care about it.

PS If you can’t figure out which way is up on Siddy there is an explanation in my response to Tialys comment……….

So, that’s the second week of my March challenge completed. Thanks for coming by today, I’m happy that you did!

87 thoughts on “Painting a Teddy Bear

  1. Lovely work! I know framing is known for elevating anything, but quality shines out further! and i really love this painting. As for WIP finally finished (the waistcoat has a fantasy oriental feel about it to me), I’ve finished a painting I’ve had on my painting desk for over a year, so I know shame too!

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    • The vest will be great as we begin to cool down a little – I bet you are looking forward to the warming up part in your neck of the woods. I’m on a roll with the teddies, two more off the table and ready to go, much happier with them……

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        • I like that the bears remind you of your childhood. They seem to have a universal appeal don’t they. I’ve enjoyed making them, but must now move on πŸ™‚ I hope the cool passes away soon and you have more of that nice humid weather you love. It’s cooling down here, but is still highly changeable! Yesterday morning I walked with Siddy wrapped in my warm jacket and scarf and last night in a tee shirt……

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          • It’s so unpredictable isn’t it? It’s been warm here, but is dropping back to 40-50s this weekend. It’s odd, but I’m enjoying the daffodils, early cherry trees and anything else that’s a sign of life.

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    • Hello Jan! How lovely to see you come by. Thank you. I didn’t paint for ages and ages and now I’m on a mission to pick up the skills I lost – I feel like I’m getting better with every project …… Hope all is well with you and yours, you are missed!

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  2. You’re artful sketches, now cards, are so well done Pauline. Water colours are my favourite medium. I like how the puddles of colours meld together to make a third or forth shade. When you pencil sketch first, do you erase the pencil after you watercolour? The ‘Happy Birthday’ greeting looks perfect too. I was just at a fab brush lettering class this past Saturday. Not the first one I’ve done but I didn’t do any follow-up practicing before so never got better. I plan to this time as I’ve already enrolled in the next class in June. It would be nice to do something like you’ve done on your art. Time will tell.
    I didn’t know about owls holding wisdom. That’s interesting. As they’re often referred to as wise and old, I knew there must be some mythological stories behind that. It’s pretty cool how they can move their heads right backwards like that scary girl in The Exorcist, LOL. Jim and I met one at the local bird store…an owl, not an exorcist, ha! Their wing span is immense for such little bodies. Your artful owl looks awesome framed. I like the white highlights a lot. Are the leaves done with texture paste?
    Bravo for finishing a long delayed project. I have many. If I don’t finish something fast enough, I get itchy to start something new. That’s one reason I’ll stay up late to finish. I can’t guarantee the next morning I won’t dive into something else. Eeeep, I have artsy ADD…not a bad affliction entirely πŸ˜€ xoxoxK

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    • I do love when you come by and leave one of your fab comments. It’s just like sitting and chatting with you. I’m not such a watercolour fan as you – I find the lack of control quite challenging – clearly in my art I am a control freak – but I am determined to play until I get more of a feeling for the flow and the layering and blending of the colours. And the looseness required. I really want to loosen up! Re the sketching part I use graphite pencil and erase the unwanted lines before paint is applied. Once paint is applied over your sketch the pencil line is there forever. Graphite is water soluble so it helps by adding depth or shading to a colour. I did quite enjoy painting this little bear – I found it much easier than I expected and it is certainly quicker than acrylics and all the other stuff I add in when using them. I do need to do more though and keep practising, I’ve a long way to go. As to the words – it’s a stamp Kelly πŸ™‚ My hand writing is pathetic, you see it in the owl and you’ll see it in the next post. I use word stamps whenever I can, especially when making cards. Like you I just don’t practise enough and my eyes don’t see straight any more – what’s that about!! I know you stay up late to finish things – chatting on Messenger doesn’t get your project finished early πŸ˜€ I do that when I’m really into a project – time disappears when I’m laying down colour. I ended up playing with your gifted pencils last night. They are enjoyable to work with. Colour saturation is good and they don’t require the layers that my expensive pencils require to get colour depth. Interesting huh?
      Artsy ADD may be the new best affliction to have! xoxo

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  3. πŸ™‚ The teddies are super cute, and the colours are so very cheerful. Love the frame on the owl, does make it stand out.
    Great job on the crochet, that was a quick finish, and looks ready to wear.
    Hugs to both furry kiddies, they are just adorable.
    Enjoy the new week and have fun in March with all the new sketches.

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  4. Pauline, your owl looks even more gorgeous framed. I’m pretty smitten. Will this remain with you or is it headed for a certain daughter who I believe also loves owls? I’m glad you’re exploring your art once again, and how nice to dedicate a month toward that goal. Are you still enjoying cooler weather?

    I noticed the star on the forehead of both bears and the owl. Is that significant? I’m intrigued.

    It feels so good finishing long-stalled products. I added a piece of lace trim to a tank top that has sat in my sewing pile for…two years? It took me five minutes. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes off the easel next. xo

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    • I don’t know where the owl will end up yet, there’s so much work in progress going on I’m not sure what will happen with any of it – unless I turn something into cards than it is destined to be given away or sold. Though I might make prints and ask the shop if they want to sell those. ………

      Alys, you are so observant! The stars are significant to me, they represent the pineal gland, the ‘third eye’ the seat of intuition and wisdom. All my art has a spiritual significance – to me πŸ™‚ but I don’t know what other people see or intuit unless they share that with me. In ancient traditions owls are silent wisdom keepers and that’s what they still represent to me, so a star on the owl calls attention to that. To me Teddy’s are comfort and love and peace and joy and childhood and so the star represents those aspects of childhood. Make any sense? I noticed from time to time that I put stars on foreheads, now it seems to have become a thing.

      Isn’t it amazing how we can leave something in the to do pile for so long and then get it done in a few minutes! We should be pleased with ourselves for finally getting it done – everything gets done at the right time huh.

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  5. What happy teddies. Love them. Well done with getting back to your painting. And well done on the two year finish. I’m sure we’re all guilty of leaving things for ages when they only need a very small amount of work to finish them.
    Your owl is magical.
    Say hey to Siddy from us. Glad he’s enjoying his TV. Harry has been watching Crufts this week!

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  6. What a good idea, to make March a month to really focus on your artwork. I know how easy it is to put something aside and, even though you plan to get back to it . . . sometimes you don’t. And it’s so smart to take the finished artwork and immediately turn it into something you can use–the cards, the framed picture. That *has* to be a good reinforcement of the act of creating! I really, really like the Tunisian crochet–I’m sure it’s because it does have that woven look. Good for you for finishing!

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  7. Your teddies are very cute, especially the girl teddy who makes the birthday cards look very happy. I love the owl in her frame. She’s very sparkly. I haven’t seen Tunisian crochet before. It does look like weaving, and either colour (true or photographic) would do me fine. Enjoy the rest of March. Keep up the great craft work! πŸ™‚

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  8. Cute cards – I can only just see what your daughter means about the teddy being scary. I tried Tunisian crochet, but had a hard job making the edges straight. You can get some fun effects with colour changes but as it looks so like knitting, I haven’t tried to make any garments – yours is making me think again.

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  9. Your Tunisian crocheted vest looks warm. The stitches are so tight and dense and even. Is that the nature of the stitch or is it your tension? I admire your determination to finish those WIPs and start new things, too. I seem to be spending a lot of time staring into the middle distance these days.

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    • Hi Susanne, Re the vest, I think it is the nature of the stitch, though I think my tension is pretty even these days too. I really like this method, it is quite soothing and easy to do. It’s all ‘simple stitch’ which is like plain knitting or single crochet, but you get a really lovely almost woven look to the fabric. I was a bit mortified to rediscover the vest needing just ten minutes work – and a needle I had hunted high and low for sitting neatly threaded in the back….. sigh! Sometimes sitting and staring into the middle distance means something is quietly gestating and soon will spring into life. How exciting! πŸ™‚

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  10. Love the art work. The teddies are wonderful: so happy and cuddly looking. The owl picture is spectacular. It really pops when it’s framed. Siddy’s body language looks like he’s so intent on what he’s watching. Orlando has that ho-hum look of I know all of this about doggie body language because I live with one. The vest looks wonderful. Love the colors. Great job.

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    • Thanks SS. Yes, you are correct. I’ve remembered that he was pretty interested at that point, it was when the programme was showing dogs socialising together and the ‘hello, hello’ sniffing thing, bowing invite and vocalisations. He was terribly keen to join in.

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  11. I don’t see very round teddies. They appear quite trim to me. I love seeing how they progress as you work. Those are very sweet cards for sending or selling. I must admit though I love teddies a great deal, The owl drawing captures me somehow and it is truly more beautiful in the frame you selected. There must not have been any cats on the television to entice Orlando. Maybe Siddy is not so selective. So cute to see the three of you all cuddled together. I’m living vicariously here. Photos always welcome. πŸ˜‰

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    • I agree about the owl looking better in the frame – frames help so much really. I’m glad you like it. Siddy often watches the TV when there is an animal moving about, he clearly recognises his fellow beings. Once there was a puppy bouncing about in a YouTube clip I was watching and he was wagging his tail and bouncing around with it and quite keen for me to get it out of there and put it on the floor to play with ……. He’s older and wiser now and knows they come, they go…….

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  12. I think the teddy is very cute not at all sinister, but you could certainly make a sinister teddy. I think some dolls can be very creepy. Last year when we saw the RSC perform Macbeth the witches were young girls in Victorian dress each clutching a doll and they were scary. I would love to see you paint scary teddy!

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    • Those witches – yech! It’s amazing how the old crones are ho-hum but change them into something unexpected and its creep city! I don’t want to deliberately make anything creepy or scary – I think there’s enough of that kind of thing in the world without me adding to it – but it has to be said that Teddies are pretty wilful and easily end up looking quite sinister…. There’s a whole gothic/steampunk vibe going on in the craft and art world that I find creepy too. I once accidentally bought some cat stamps of that ilk, that at first glance looked cute, but when I used them I saw they weren’t……….

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  13. Sweet, sweet teddy bear. Do you start with an idea of what you will sketch, or do you just sit down and see what appears on the paper? I guess I’m thinking it’s like writing: sometimes I start with an idea and work from it. But sometimes I have no idea what will appear and sweep me away. The creative process and how it varies with artists fascinates me. I really like the vest. I start and stop a lot, so I understand finding the wip. I’m glad it only took 10 minutes to finish! That must’ve felt good to accomplish. Orlando and Siddyβ€”What angels. ❀️❀️

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    • I’ve been doodling little bears and kitties and puppies and birds in my sketch book in the evenings and decided to try and make a full page teddy sketch. I made both those two above in about 20 minutes and the next day did the slightly smaller sketch in my art room specifically to watercolor. I’m not a particularly talented drawer, so have to really work at it. Drawing every day is good for me to develop the skills I quickly lose when I’m not working on it. Once the paints are in my hand however everything changes – I lay down layers of paint and build colour with no problem. I’m good at colour πŸ™‚ I wonder if that equates in any way to the process of writing – I have read pieces where it is clear the author has a really great idea, but doesn’t proof read or can’t manage to edit the writing sufficiently to keep pace or depth or whatever. When it all comes together it’s fabulous and when it doesn’t it’s disappointing…….. It’s like my bear. She is smiling but her eyes are too big. Her eyes should be scrunched up by the smile. My daughter thinks she looks ‘slightly sinister’ and I think that is why. Editing required πŸ™‚

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  14. Beautiful work, Pauline! The Bears remind me of some bears that were part of my children’s childhood. More updated and more intricate, but the same kind of feel and they loved them so much. Siddy is a very smart dog!

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  15. It’s always intriguing to see you later up. I think you’re done but on go more layers like a professional flatterer and it’s completely different. I too was confused by the Soddy topography so thank you for giving me some trig points to work with…. and keep those challenges going. No slacking!

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  16. I’m so glad you’re challenging yourself, Pauline. Yay! More fun posts to see your progress. I love watching your art come to fruition. Beautiful colorful paintings. And the knitted vest is so pretty. I’m glad you finished it. πŸ™‚ Happy Creating!

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