Sunday, 14 June 2009


Back in the Spring I sold a painting that caused a stir at an exhibition because of its comic content. It was about two ceramic sheep sitting on a coffee table by a window looking out at a field of sheep enjoying life in the sunshine and I called it CAN I GO OUT TO PLAY? The idea actually goes back some years to a Fenland show entitled 'bums' when I only showed the backview of sheep. Another couple liked it so much they commissioned me to do something similar. So I agreed to keep the storyline but change some of the detail.

finished work - as usual click to enlarge to see detail

Back home in my study I could not believe I did not have a stored image of the original piece but fortunately remembered it enough to make changes, for example

-I kept the curtain colour as requested but added a pattern

-I changed the original equal sided curtains and moved the smaller table more to the left

-originally there had been a pot of geraniums behind the sheep on a larger table but this time round I decided on a pot of ferns in front of the longer and wider curtains on the right

-originally the ceramic sheep had been laying down and this time round made the little lamb much smaller than its mother

- finally I changed the terracotta floor tiles to soft greys and added shadows

All in all it is a completely different piece of artwork with the same comic theme and question for its title .

here is my working drawing
It took some time planning the composition, using different references for the sheep, ferns and pattern in the curtains. Everything else was made up.

first washes of the view through the window

first layer of the ceramic sheep and finished pot and ferns
My clients are back from holiday tomorrow, when I will arrange delivery or collection. Hope they enjoy it with double 3 inch cream mount inside a plain wood frame measuring 22 inches square. Can't believe I've managed to complete this 15 x 15 inch square watercolour since I got back from Italy last Sunday ... but I did have all my references ready and had given it lots of thought before I went away.


Vicki Greene said...

This is a delightful painting. It makes me smile. Thanks for sharing your thought process and your color choices are great. I know your clients will love it.

RHCarpenter said...

Wonderfully creative and fun! Love the black-faced sheep outside looking in, too :) Definitely a winner you should do again with some variations - a series, perhaps, in the future?

Cindi said...

what a fun and whimsical painting.. i'm sure your clients wil be pleased!! very well done!!

Margaret Ann said...

Love seeing your steps...a very sweet and happy painting! :)

Sandra Rowney said...

An old art school trick was to get students to paint sheep in the snow for a study of "whites" about a painting called 'Sheep in the Dolomites' :)

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Glad you liked my bit of fun - wished I had thought of the word 'whimsical' Cindi - much more appropriate.
If I had the time Sandra I'd give it a go, but you know how much we have to create this summer.

Angela said...

How clever! I think this is really a fun painting and I bet your clients will be so happy with it!

Robyn said...

And I love the palm against the curtain, Joan.

Judy said...

Just love your work Joan - such fresh colours and great subjects.

Anonymous said...

Joan - your something for free is finally up on my blog for you - I really hope you like it! It was inspired by your watercolours.

Candy said...

Joan, this painting is sweet! Clever name, too.