|The gray cheeks are so overpowering|
When I started with this project I thought I was going to have to tweak my brains for it is in grayscale. This is a printed image from a painting done by Claudia Tremblay. Mind you I've never done anything not entirely white before, save for the outlines of the image. This one was going to need a different approach and I wasn't sure I was quite equipped to tackle it.
Indeed after doing the mother's serene face for a few hours using Faber-Castell polychromos flesh and pink tones I found the cheek's gray shade most challenging. Pencils just were not powerful enough to cover the gray areas. I left it at that, stumped with what to use next. I wasn't going to budge and resort to use pastels, those just weren't my thing, although I knew that a lot of grayscale artists use soft pastel and even oil pastel quite efficiently.
Anyhow, after two weeks or so I went back to this project one afternoon and decided to finish it just for the heck of it. I actually felt it was a lost cause.
After being done with the infant's pink skin coloring I was almost satisfied with how I was doing save again for the gray cheeks. (See image above) I was about to throw in the towel when I saw on top of my work area my new set of Gelatos which I've been experimenting with for no reason at all. I grabbed the light pink lipstick-like container and dubbed a bit on the baby's cheeks before spreading it around with the tip of a finger.
It worked! The cheeks somehow lightened to rosy pink which overall makes the image appear more serene.
In my delight I took another Gelato, a deep yellow this time, and worked it on the entire background. I was done in an instant. After coloring the flowers and leaves with touches of pink, red and green with colored pencils I posted the work on my coloring pages, and personal page in Facebook. I attributed it to its artist, Claudia Tremblay, who posted this work among her other works in Pinterest.
Actually I saved the best part of this story for last. Towards the evening, a couple of hours after I uploaded this on Facebook, an old friend offered to buy it to add to her Madonna and Child art collection. No one has ever offered to buy any of my works before, this is my first time. I also thought it's a good thing I used Polychromos on this project, this image will remain this vibrant for a hundred years because of its high light fast quality.
The next thing I did was contact Claudia Tremblay through email to ask her permission. I also offered to pay royalty as well to this one work of hers which I had printed and colored and will be selling soon. She replied the following day and I was thrilled to know that she liked the way I colored her image and gave the nod to sell this one image. She also encouraged me to try drawing images on my own to color. I replied and told her that I was grateful for her approval and that I might actually do that in the near future. Actually I did it the following day, I doodled my own mother and child image since I already was missing this one which was to leave me in a few weeks.
If you're still willing to read one more paragraph on this experience I'd just like to mention that while I was coloring the baby's features with slow and purposeful flicks suddenly the memories of all four of my babies came rushing back to me. At a certain point I even felt myself choking up. The delicate hands, the small feet, the chubby cheeks, they are all memories that are never taken from the mother. They will always be in my brain's tiny memory box where all the beautiful things in life that give me hope are kept. Sealed but never forgotten.