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does she need a nose?!

acrylic painting Carla Soneheim i swim to save my soul original painting by tyler larsen jesse reno Michelle Allen octopus painting oil painting Paintings silly octopus painting stella


wrapping up the finishing details on this painting for Miss Stella Vita (my lovely 10 yr. old step daughter) and I just can't figure out if she needs a nose or not??! It's not hard to tell whose inspired this whimsical style :) ehhehhummm...Michelle Allen. I took a sketch of a squid I did in Carla Soneheim's silly online workshop and morphed it into this little octopus, who actually has a whole lot of meaning for Stella and I packed into it, more on that in a minute...

What do ya think? Nose? No Nose???

close up (i swim to save my soul painting)

I used acrylic paints for the her body and opted for an oil paint background, I love blending oil paint colors.

So, I have yet to surrender my soul to Jesse Reno's workshop and although I thought I would this year at Artfest...he's not! But I took a stab in the dark, attempting what I thought would be his technique (I'm actually dying to know if I'm even close to the process)


See this above pic was the just the beginning. I took an old canvas painting of mine from my interior design-beach vacation rental staging days, I painting I did- that really I thought was hiatus [but worked for the setting then] and went crazy painting different color shapes all over it. Then in pencil drew my octopus character...and well, the rest just evolved from there working on it a little bit over the last couple weeks. Always keeping in mind Reno's saying:

"don't like it?....paint over it!"

Let's just say there are a lot of layers of paint going on here. I mean A LOT!

O.k. the story behind the painting... Stella is amazing at just about every sport she participates in. Swimming has been her forefront sport of choice the past couple of years. And by reading her Mom's blog and hearing stories first hand from Stella she's really been excelling and 'prolly one of, if not the best swimmers on her team. Recently she decided to quit/take a break, because in her words; her feelings were hurt. Everyday in line up and in between drills the coach hollers words of encouragement and pays accolades to most of the girls on the team, except Stella. Stella feels like the loaner here, this makes her feel bad. Although Stella is able to acknowledge the coach has pulled her aside and said to her she's a really good swimmer and she just pushes her to try harder cause she knows Stella is more than capable.

The light bulb goes off in my my head [I think I've been here before]...Stella IS the best swimmer on the team, I don't doubt this for one minute knowing her competitive little soul :) I explained why the coach might not pay her the accolades she's looking for..."Stell, you're prolly the best swimmer out there and if the coach gives you all the same compliments she does the others, when you're already winning every drill/exercise at practice then it looks to the other team mates like the coach is favoring you and well, just think of how you'd feel if you weren't as good of a swimmer....

Stella: "I know, I know...I'm gonna start swimming again, I promise Mama." (I'm mama, or mama T.)

This painting was started when she came to visit us...and of all the paintings started on my work bench she was drawn to it...

"Mama, i Loooove this one!"

"Good, cause I'm painting it for you." And that's when the "i swim to save my soul" saying was jotted down on a piece of paper next to the painting...

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  • Bree on

    close up I wasn’t so sure but from a distance – she does not need a nose


  • abby jane on

    hmmm. . . i don’t think octopi have noses so i don’t think she needs one but it kind of feels like she’s itching for one. . . it’s looking great!

  • jenn on

    Don’t think she needs a nose.. it’s splendid.

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