|Lauren 10″x10″ mixed-media|
So the past few weeks have been busy with Olivia’s Heart Fund! We are all preparing the preview of the Art Hearts for the Rhode Island Flower Show this Thursday. While a lot of those plans were going on, I had this latest Art Heart in limbo, as I kept debating which ideas to use in the design. First let me tell you a little about Lauren’s story.
Lauren’s parents were happy to welcome their second daughter into the world, and were not expecting any complications. The first sign they had that there was a problem was eight hours later, when she was taken to the NICU as a precaution, because she hadn’t been eating. It was at this point that the doctors discovered Lauren had a congenital heart defect, which was a shock to her parents. In fact her condition, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, is very difficult to detect during pregnancy.
With few options, Lauren was brought to Boston for her first surgery at only three days old. She would eventually need two additional surgeries and several cautheterizations for her condition. Though she has faced some difficulties during those procedures, she has since recovered and is doing well.
In my emails with Lauren’s father, he helped me to learn more about his daughter. She is a dancer and singer, and loves the beach and nature. I did some research, looking for the right imagery for Lauren’s heart. Initially, what resonated with me was the starfish – I thought with Lauren’s love of performance arts, perhaps the star would best represent her. After further study, I found out that the starfish is the fisherman’s symbol for protection from the Virgin Mary (Stalla Maris = star of the sea). It represents salvation during trying times, a celestial symbol of infinite love, as well as guidance, healing and regeneration. Perfect!
|using the heart template to mask the spatter area|
So Lauren’s heart was different than the previous ones in that I wanted to add some texture for the sand and the star. After starting with a sketch, I dropped in some background color, and then using my heart template as a mask, I spattered it with several hues of watercolor.
|the background color wash|
Once the sand was done, I added three stones on the beach – one for each of Lauren’s surgeries. I filled in the surrounding heart area with a wash of watercolor in orange (Lauren’s favorite color).
|lots of texture on the starfish|
Next, I layered more color and texture over the starfish to give it more dimension. I added some shading around the star as if it cast a shadow on the sand.
|the whitest whites for the seafoam|
After the watercolor was complete, I needed to brighten and add detail to the seafoam. This I painted with acrylic, drawing in all the bubbles and froth, adding a few spots of bubbles over the sand.
|last step – blending the pastel edge|
|the completed Art Heart|
This is the eighth piece in my series of Art Hearts for Olivia’s Heart Fund. If you’d like to read more about the project please check out the Art Hearts page on my blog. If you feel inspired to make a donation to the charity please click here or on the button below to visit the charity’s site. 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’d like to see this piece, or the other seven Art Hearts so far, please consider visiting the RI Flower Show this week. I’ll be looking forward to it!