Friday, February 21, 2014

Virtual Paintout 15: Washington DC!

The Virtual Paintout gang has been traveling the world for 5 years now! Yay for Google StreetView!

This is my 15th outing with them. Remember, we are not ACTUALLY and physically there... we travel via Google Street View. It is SO much fun, and I encourage anyone to join. There is no obligation. You can do it as often as your schedule permits. Here is Bill Guffey's blog, Virtual Paintout, where you can find all the deets. 

So... for February we "traveled" to Washington DC. It's amazing how you think you are familiar with a place so iconic. Until you really LOOK at it. I totally enjoyed cruising the streets, both the familiar landmarks and the unknown backstreets. And that is how I stumbled upon "my" spot to paint.

I was cruising past the Marriot Hotel when a brightly painted 5 ft tall statue of a Panda bear caught my eye! I laughed, and just HAD to stop and zoom in. Yep... this was it.

The Panda was originally a part of a fundraiser for Arts and Grants Education programs in Washington DC. There were 150 pandas generously painted (for free) by local artists, which were auctioned off at the end of the summer of 2004.

The original artist of "my" panda was Anne Marchand, a prominent and talented Washington DC artist.   Panda was exhibited all summer in Chinatown, Washington DC, before he was auctioned off at the fundraiser.

Painted fiberglass statues like this are special to me because I've done them myself. I painted two 3 ft tall cat statues to help raise money for a cats and kittens shelter. If you'd like to peek at them, here are the links:

So... on to the making of Political PandaMonium!

(Can click on any pics to enlarge)

I cropped the original version down to this size:

First I sealed the paper in my sketchbook with acrylic medium, since I was going to be using acrylics and didn't want to risk any wrinkling issues in the sketchbook. 

It's a Super Deluxe Aquabee sketchbook with Heavyweight Drawing Paper, "For use with wet and dry media". I love this sketchbook, but still, it's only 93 lb paper and can't take a LOT of water. 

Here I roughed in a colorful underpainting for all the bushes and flowers behind Panda:

Drew in Panda and underpainted him yellow, for brightness and so I could SEE the design I was about to add. :-)

The first layers of flowers and foliage in the background:

Drew the Panda design in with charcoal pencil, then acrylics. 

Began painting the colors for his design, starting with a darker underpainting (this dark brownish-red was for the red areas). I used a simple "3 value" system. That's where you simply think "light, medium, dark" for each color. By blending and shading, you naturally end up with a lot of variety this way. 

For example: on this section of his finished tummy there are several design elements that are predominately Yellow. 

I let the yellow be the lightest value, using orange and red for the middle and darkest values. At the end of the day though, I usually end up playing around, and adding some purple shadows here and there, white highlights, and whatever strikes my fancy. Whatever works! :-D

Here is Panda in my sketchbook:

Close-up of his face:

And the finished image, Political PandaMonium:

(oopsie, see my goof? Kinda makes me think 
of political goof-ups.. mwa ha ha ha)

Political PandaMonium
acrylics in 6 x 9 sketchbook

Happy Painting,



  1. LOL! She decided to retire from world traveling now that she's had her 4th birthday. :-D)))

  2. Oh how fun to find great art in unexpected places, and I love what you did with that little guy. Colorful, delightful, and a celebration.

    1. Thanks, Mary. He was a lot of fun to paint. Nothing serious, just quirky and different. :-)

  3. Anonymous7:14 AM

    pretty nice blog, following :)