Charlie’s Art Heart

Charlie 10″ x 10″ mixed-media

Today I am continuing with artwork for the  Art Hearts project with Olivia’s Heart Fund. This next Art Heart is for Charlie, who was diagnosed with Truncus Arteriosus before she was born. Due to additional complications she was born a tiny 4 1/2 pounds.

Charlie’s parents had 5 wonderful days with their daughter before her health declined and an emergency surgery had to be performed. She still needed surgery to correct the Truncus, which was pushed back another week. For 2 1/2 months her parents spent nearly every moment by their daughter’s side as she fought for her life.
Unfortunately Charlie lost her battle with Truncus. In her parents letter, they expressed how loving her has changed their lives – in volunteering, sharing her story and raising awareness of congenital heart defect, they honor her memory. She has created purpose in their lives.
Knowing that this painting is for a CHD “angel”, (the term is used to describe children who have passed in their battle with CHD) I began my design with white wings as the focus of the heart. This will be a common theme with each of the angel hearts, as it was in Olivia’s painting. I had been picturing butterfly wings for this piece, and after discussing imagery with Charlie’s mother Beatriz realized this was a perfect fit – for when her parents see butterflies they think of Charlie. The wings I based on a white morpho – a very rare butterfly.
The printed sketch – notched so that I could align the heart edges
I spent more time working on color options during the sketch phase this time – I wanted to keep pink as a one of the core colors based on Beatriz’s description. Also after some research I added peonies to the base of the heart, as they represent ambition – and so they correlate with the sense of purpose that Charlie brought to her parents’ lives.
The sketch transferred to watercolor paper

After I was happy with the sketch, I printed it and transferred it to watercolor paper. The peonies are a complex flower, so they are outlined simply.

The watercolor underpainting
I added a base of watercolor to the sketch taking care to keep the main butterfly wings clean. With the delicate shading, I thought I would be better off adding details in water media instead of pastel. I also added some washes of metallic silver inks to get a shimmer on them.
Detail of the peonies in pastel
I started filling in the flowers with pastel, using sharpened pastel sticks and the occasional pastel pencil. Once they looked softer and more realistic, I filled in the inner and outer heart shapes.
Detail of the wings. The silver leaf really picks up the light.
I did go back and touch up all of the butterflies with paintbrushes as they are very tiny, and detailed. The last step was to revisit the large wings. I had rendered them as carefully as I could, but they didn’t quite stand out enough for me. So I went over all of the inked spots on the wings with size and silver leaf. I also added white acrylic to the edges of the wings for more contrast with the background.
The completed painting
This piece has a very delicate look, and the colors have a purity and innocence to them. I want each Heart Art to be individual and take on a life of its own, and I think that came through here.

If you’d like to purchase a print or greeting card of this or other paintings, they are available through the charity’s store, and all proceeds benefit Olivia’s Heart Fund. If you like this project, and would care to, please donate to Olivia’s Heart Fund. All of the completed Art Hearts will be framed and shown this coming February in support of the families who participated in the project, and all of those who have struggled with CHD.

3 thoughts on “Charlie’s Art Heart

  1. Lisa,

    Thank you so much for this beautiful painting! I can't even begin to tell you how much this means to me and my family. You are an amazing artist and I feel so fortunate and honored to have Charlie included in this project. Again, thank you so much♥

    Beatriz Collado

  2. Thank you Beatriz!

    I am so glad you like the heart. Your story, the descriptions of Charlie and how you remember her made this piece possible. I hope it honors her as you would want it to. Thanks again for helping make this project happen.


  3. Lisa, it is difficult to put into words how extraordinary I think you are for creating this project. The Art Hearts are beautiful expressions of love. It is an honor to include you in my upcoming book about Artists As World Changers. Please write to me if you have any updates on the fall exhibition. Best wishes, Renee

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