The “Love Breeds Strength” Project

It’s been my goal to try to photograph each step in the process of my pieces as they become a finished work. I’ve not quite accomplished that. It seems I get too impatient while I’m working and just forget to stop and take pictures!  Eventually I’ll get there but for now, this is the best I’ve come up with!

This is the process of “Love Breeds Strength”. I begin by laying a background with a particular goal in mind. In this piece the person I was painting it for, loves my trees that I paint hanging onto each other, so the focus would be on the trees.

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The background would be one of my favorite things that I do and that’s blending colors. When I was a kid my parents had a particular painting in our living room that I used to spend hours studying. It was done by a friend of theirs and it was just a massive circle but it was a mixture of many different colors and shades. It was hard to tell where one color ended and another began. It was a blend of an abstract style and a monet style.  That painting influenced how I do many of my backgrounds. Sadly, I’m unable to share a picture of that beautiful painting because it was destroyed in a fire some years back.

First I lay in the sky portion of the background, decide on where the horizon is going to be. Next I lay in under the horizon. In this piece ocean was requested, so after playing with it for awhile I decided on pacific ocean with some faded mountains in the distance.

The next step is to find the shape of the trees. It’s almost a sketch of what it’s going to become.


Then the detail begins.


The detail takes a very long time especially on such a large piece. This one is 24 inches tall and 48 inches wide. In the picture above you can see that I’ve begun getting the shape of the base and I’ve decided on how the bark will look on these trees. Sometimes I do a smooth blending but I wanted these trees to stand out more so they have a rougher exterior.

Sorry about this blurry picture. (I should’ve taken another picture in the morning sun the next day but I forgot to.) The next thing I do is lay out the first layer of branches and add the shading to every branch that is under another branch, otherwise the painting will be very flat. It wouldn’t have any dimension to it. This step takes a very long time. Most of the time I leave the trees as deadwood as a testament to endurance, but in this piece I wanted more life to it so I began to lay out leaves.


Usually at this point I will add a few more branches.


You’ll also notice that in the previous picture the leaves were a green color and in the picture above they are white. The reason for that is, I’ve found for white to have dimension, it needs to have a color background before I lay white in.

Here, you see it almost finished. A few more small details will be added.


Here you can see the final details added to the water to give it motion and the bases of the trees have the the final shading.


Lastly, this is the completely finished piece!


I hope you enjoyed the journey of “Love Breeds Strength”. I decided on that name because this piece is done for someone who helps so many kids going thru cancer treatments or who many years later are dealing with the damage done to their bodies by the cancer treatment. I truly believe that those who support, who are compassionate, who show love to these kids who have to battle something so fierce most of us will never know, give strength to them. In turn those kids have strength and compassion. The strongest, most kind, most compassionate, generous people I’ve known were also the most brave. Little children who have or have had cancer. Bravery and courage doesn’t mean fearlessness. It means being afraid but doing it anyway.   I’m honored to have known so many. I also know that david, who this piece is going to, helps give these kids strength to carry on. In behalf of them. Thankyou.

2 thoughts on “The “Love Breeds Strength” Project”

  1. Mary Mathis says:

    Stacy, that not only is a beautiful piece, but you also shared your heart. I think you are an amazing person and I am proud to call you my friend. Mary

    1. aww! Thankyou Mary! I’m proud to call you my friend too!

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