Circus Peanuts for Nolan

It started when my oldest sister was pregnant for the first time. When we found out she was pregnant, we asked how large the baby was at the time. Because she was using a mobile app tracker, she said with confidence that it was the size of a jellybean. Because she and her husband didn't want to know the sex before it was born, her baby became "Jellybean", until said baby was born and was officially named Marleigh. It wasn't until my sister's second kid, which we decided to refer to as "Pickles", that I started coming up with the idea to do unique paintings for each of my nieces and nephews based on their nickname.

For my oldest sister and her family, her children's paintings have been fashioned as repeated abstractions of their namesake, while my other older sister's children have formal portraits of their respective nicknames. This year, my oldest sister gave birth to her fourth child, whose nickname as "Peanut".

With that challenge, I decided to do a painting of circus peanuts, those marshmallowy yet surgary candy of yore. I decided to use an efficient process to develop the concept of the painting before I even picked up a brush:

  • I found source images on Pinterest

  • I did some initial sketching of said circus peanut based off of source images.

  • I worked to figure out what palette I wanted. determining a palette. Circus peanuts in their natural habitat are a light, synthetic looking orange, so I decided to use that as an initial inspiration and then develop other colors of various hues in order to create more harmony in the painting.

  • I worked to figure out the pattern I wanted in the final painting concept.

  • I made a paper stencil of the final peanut shape.

  • I traced the stencil onto the canvas to layout a draft of the pattern.

  • Once I started painting, I would fill in each peanuts one color at a time.

You can see more of these paintings under "Patterned Abstractions" on my website. Lucky for me, my older sister is having her third child this month, and we already decided his name would be "Pizza" (a bit of a departure from his brother and sister, Blueberry and Raspberry). So over the next few weeks I'll be making, sketching, and hopefully painting the most beautiful slice of pizza you've ever seen.