First, allow me to introduce the artwork that started us down the path and caught the attention of Shannon.
This is a piece by artist Monica Furlow titled Button Tree 0006. This is one piece among many that draw out the spirit of artistry enchanted by childhood and imagination. Taking an item in nature and embedding childhood imagination in the story is what inspired Leah and I on our quest.
Rather than trying to recreate an exact replica, we chose to use this as an inspiration or springboard for our own artistic creativity while keeping Shannon and her personality in mind. So, we set on our quest to see if we could accomplish this artistic feat.
We began by utilizing Leah's skill with sketching. She is very serious in this process and wanted to make sure she did the artist justice. She focused on sketching the tree for which we would paint around.
From there, it was the tree itself. In staying within the parameters set by Monica Furlow's drawing, depth was important. This particular task took a bit of time. The mixtures of purple and grey with white and black allowed for that depth to shine.
In consideration of every tree with the ability to have leaves, we chose to fill in the tree leaves even though we knew we would be doing a lot of work on top of that paint. With a sponge purchased from the art store for a dollar, we mixed a color together for this level of the painting. I guarantee you there were very few base colors used in this painting. Part of the artistic mark, was creating our own colors as we went by mixing some magic.
While the top half dried, we started plotting our attack on the wispy and dramatic grass in Monica Furlow's painting. We decided to go a little more dramatic and let the colors do the talking in our painting. It may not show as much balance as her artwork does, but it fit our mood and what we knew Shannon would love.
More color mixing happened. We also edited a fan style paint brush by cutting pieces out to offer a more dramatic stroke and less work in the end.
While Leah had been panicking during day one, my turn was in day two. I was worried about the incredible green shade I had chosen. But, by continuing with layering of colors, we found what we were trying to reach. We layered colors upon colors.
Hot glue gun and hundreds of buttons in hand, we continued our mission.
Yes, we used real buttons. We located bags of miscellaneous buttons at Michaels. We then selected a few other buttons we knew Shannon would like specifically (tie dye peace sign buttons). We laid them out and then set to hot gluing them. The only mission was to not have the same buttons in one area or too much of the same color.
We also added a little more of Shannon's free spirit and humor in the mix by adding the frog, butterfly and dragonfly buttons as supporting characters.
So, I am not sure there is a moral of this story, other than go for it. And just because you are working from someone else's work does not mean it needs to be a replica. There is much joy in taking an inspiration and making it your own for someone else who is so deserving. I would hope that the artist would find it a compliment that her work inspired amateur artists to go for it!