My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1199: Little Things Make a Difference

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-21-2013 01:02 PM 1803 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1198: Moving Right Along Part 1199 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1200: Exploring New Horizons »

I didn’t get a great deal of time to work on my painting yesterday. After all, it is only a few days until Christmas and I had some house chores here to take care of and I had planned a wonderful dinner date with Keith and his mom for the evening. We had been trying to get together for about a week now, and had to change our plans a couple of times because of the snow and ice. I was happy we were finally able to make a go of things.

I did however get a couple of hours in and I did some refinements on the mother snow leopard. While I really liked how she was turning out up until this point, when looking at her the next morning, I saw something that I missed the previous day.

Below is a close up of how she started out. Not bad, but I felt that something looked off to me.

What bothered me the most was the area to the left of her nose. While the other side of her face looked shaped and contoured, the left side looked bland and flat. I mentioned before that I have to do additional shading and toning when all the fur is in place, but I realized as I was looking at her that there was just something missing.

I also looked closely at the shape of the nose. Again – at the left side, it appeared to slightly bow towards the outside of the head a bit. While I realize that faces of these animals could vary and this could very well be correct, on my reference picture of Everests’ mom, the nose seemed to be much straighter than I portrayed.

I took some time and added in some contours on the lower cheek of her face. I did this by adding darker fur layers and some transparent darker washes. I also emphasized the fur pattern there slightly and as a result it set the upper cheek forward towards me and gave that side of the face a much better shape.

I also darkened along the outside left side of the nose, pulling it inward ever so slightly. This gave a more streamlined and chiseled look, which more closely resembled the mom. It wasn’t difficult to do this, but it did take time. Since the fur consists of multiple layers of color, I was able to gradually move the light area to the right one stroke at a time. I am pretty happy with the results.

Below is a final result of my efforts. I would say it took me about an hour to fix these things. Not bad, considering.

I find that getting away from something we are working on for a while does wonders for our perspective. While I was extremely happy with the Mom on Thursday night, when I looked at her Friday morning these two things just jumped out at me. While these adjustments may seem to be small, I think they were very important and will play a large part on the overall painting. I placed the two versions side by side here for you to have a better comparison.

Like many of you, I am also anxious to see this painting completed. Each day as it begins to come together, I get more and more excited. But I don’t want my enthusiasm to get the best of me – as in the beginning when I rushed through painting the cub. While the cub looked OK at the time, sitting next to the mom at this point you can see a huge difference (I hope!) in the level of painting. I look at it now and the cub looks much more cartoon-like in comparison to the mom. I just didn’t take the time and steps required to make it look better.

But all is not lost. When I get to that part of the painting, I am sure I will be able to improve on it, so I am not in despair. It will come together with time.

Thank you again for all of your thoughts and comments. I hope you are all enjoying this experience with me, for I am learning a lot and hope that I am helping you look at things a bit differently as well.

The weekend is upon us and it is a busy time for most. I am pretty much together though on my holiday things, and only have some food and baking to think about, as well as wrapping a couple of gifts. But I still have time for that.

Have a wonderful weekend. Try to enjoy the season and the process, for the day will come and go in the blink of an eye.

Happy Saturday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

8 comments so far

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3213 days

#1 posted 12-21-2013 01:43 PM

Absolutely MAGNIFICANT! Without your tutulage I, not being so artistically inclinded, I wouldn’t have noticed the need to correct, but you’ve really improved the appearence immensely. Many thanks for taking your valuable time to walk us through the steps. No critisism, but do leapords not have decernable whiskers? Being white to grey, maybe they are there but my single eye misses them.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 [email protected]

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4001 days

#2 posted 12-21-2013 01:54 PM

Thanks, Russell. I am glad you all don’t mind this series of the blog here on LJ’s. I do post the blog in several places and while I know that most here are hard core woodworkers, I think there is enough interest from those who also do other types of creating. (Those who don’t want to read can also just skip by if they want! ;) )

People sometime say I am “picky”, but how else can we improve if we continually settle with ourselves. Keith has walked by me several times shaking his head and saying “I don’t know about you” because of the time and effort I have invested in this project. But he isn’t the same type of artist and I suppose I don’t expect everyone to understand. I don’t know why I am so driven to paint like this, but I am and I thoroughly enjoy it.

The leopards will have whiskers, but they will come in the end. I still have things to do on them and they are really a bit from being what I will call “finished.” I know some people would be happy with it as it is, but I envision it a bit differently and we are not there yet.

Patience is the key. I want to be able to really say I did my best on it. :)

I don’t mind questions or constructive criticism at all. It is a process and a learning process for me. With each painting I feel I learn a bit more and improve a bit. I appreciate your observations.

Thanks for the comment!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3154 days

#3 posted 12-21-2013 06:37 PM

Beautifully done Sheila! The details that you have added really define the shape of the leopard’s muzzle and when creating fur, the detail is important. I don’t think it matters how long it takes to create a project as long as the process is enjoyable and the creator is happy with the end results. I have a couple of teddy bear projects that I did that took me weeks to finish as I wanted them to have realistic looking fur but they are some of my favourite pieces.
Enjoy the day.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4166 days

#4 posted 12-21-2013 10:19 PM

This little blog is also turning into a painting tutorial, not complaining, just wish I was a painter so I could take
advantage of it. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 82 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4001 days

#5 posted 12-22-2013 12:27 PM

Thank you Anna and Gus. I am glad that you guys here on LJ’s are putting up with these posts. :) I do post my blog in five different places and I do realize that it doesn’t always fit in with the audiences 100%. I do find though that there is a lot of overlap between woodworking and painting and that there are many, many people who do both. Just as there are some woodworkers here that paint, there are many decorative painters who do scroll sawing and woodworking. Since it would be difficult to tailor each post exactly to the audience where it is posted, I chose to post and leave it at the discretion of the reader as to whether they choose to read or not.

I understand that some woodworkers have little or no interest in painting, and I do apologize if these posts seem “off track.” I can assure that soon I will be back to scroll sawing and perhaps I will have posts that are more interesting to them.

Being different is what makes our world so fascinating. If we all liked exactly the same thing, how dull it would be.

I always appreciate your comments very much. Thanks for your thoughts and insights. :)


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3885 days

#6 posted 12-22-2013 01:35 PM

Wow, I thought it looked good before, but, you’re right, a gr8 fix for the big kitty. They look amazing.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 4099 days

#7 posted 12-22-2013 05:28 PM

If anyone should complain, it would simply be because they may be singularly talented and not interested in broadening their interest! I am definitely not offended by any of your posts as it shows you have multiple hobbies/talents and not the least afraid to try new things and ideas. I dabble in many different hobbies and need to get back to some of them. I get bored if I do the same things over and over and it is nice to see someone step outside their niche and excell in another medium. I say “Kudos” to you and applaud the lifelike picture you painted! Well done!

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4001 days

#8 posted 12-22-2013 05:40 PM

Thanks, Erwin. I did struggle a little with the idea of posting things here because I know that this is a hard core woodworking site. But I receive so many questions and comments regarding the painting aspects that I show here that I do feel that there is an interest among some of the woodworkers here, but not all. But seeing as this isn’t something that is required reading, I figure that those who are looking for woodworking can just skip by. :)

I like many different things, as you know. There are never enough hours in the day to do all I like.

I am glad you like the play-by-play. It helps keep me on track as well.

Have a wonderful day, Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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