JourneyWoman, Evelyn Hannon's Solo Travel Award Painting (Part 1)

JourneyWoman, Evelyn Hannon's Solo Travel Award Painting (Part 1)

Evelyn Hannon,The Original JourneyWoman

Evelyn's FaceBook post about the boots, fashioned after real military footwear worn on authentic battle grounds.


The Boots

Carolyn commissioned me to paint the Award image for JourneyWoman's 30th Anniversary held on 14 June 2024 at the Bata Shoe Museum. Her well-travelled red boots were accepted into the Museum when Evelyn's daughter, Erica Ehm, handed JourneyWoman's reins (and boots) over to Carolyn Ray, CEO of JourneyWoman, in 2019 prior to lockdown when travel all but halted and the industry was forever changed.

It's been an interesting few years as a Member on the Advisory Council to say the least. Oh did I mention, I'm on the Advisory Council along with a number of Evelyn's former followers to help Carolyn with suggestions for change.

In 2021, I presented, to the membership, on Solo Travel along with Joy Fox (who was chosen by Carolyn to be the 1st Recipient of the Evelyn Hannon Solo Traveller Award - for which this painting was commissioned). Joy and I became fast friends and it was an honour to know I was doing this for someone who epitomizes what Evelyn stood for.

Because the boots are at the museum, and I'm still in relative isolation (if you're interested and haven't read this, you can see the story Carolyn wrote about my situation here), I was only able to work from reference photos. I did, though, initially draw from a pair of my own well-worn Blundstone boots. They were a somewhat similar shape.

This first sketch was from my imagination after seeing a photo of Evelyn's red boots.  (below).

From here, we were able to discern that the composition would be landscape (horizontal) ... to also use on the cake for the celebration at the Bata Shoe Museum.



I didn't record myself drawing the initial thumbnail sketch nor any rough sketches seen below because it all happened rather fast.

There is a video showing step-by-step drawing of a Carnival Squash though if you're interested in seeing my still life rough sketch drawing process. 

c/u thumbnail

Suffice to say, there were a number of preliminary sketches flying around my desk before I settled on a final composition for the working drawing (see below)


4 Stages I work through with a client when doing a commissioned piece are:

1. thumbnail
2. rough sketch
3. working drawing

While on Sabbatical, in 2012, I documented this process for students as I worked on the Love You (song) Project, three acrylic paintings commissioned by Sandra Dedrick. This was back in the day when I had never taken a video before.

rough sketch

Using the thumbnail, which I did from my imagination after looking at the boots, I began to draw from my own boots.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm a little bit dyslexic

(and you're a little bit rock'n roll - I know) ...

I was working a lot from my imagination ... trying to envisage Evelyn's boots and make them come to life as I simultaneously drew from the photographic reference (below) that was not set up the same as in the composition I was drawing! Eeek.


I was super pleased with myself after I discovered, on my own, I'd drawn two left boots before I gotten to the size-as working drawing stage (below).

The final painting was designed for an 8 x 10" frame and mat with a 5 x 7" opening.

working drawing (5 x 7" drawn size as)

At this stage, I made sure there was a right foot boot and a left! And so with this drawing approved and in hand I began ...

Marching right along

I photographed the working drawing to send to my printer, substantially reducing its size so 3 colour studies would fit on the 8.5 x11" sheet printed in black & white.

I then, as you can see in the video (below), used Prismacolor Pencils to make a few colour studies to get an idea as to what the FINAL would look like. 

Initially, I chose the 2nd one. Later I went back to my original idea for colours though. In the end, I realized, I just liked the rendering of the boots in the second sketch better.

I printed the 5 x 7" working drawing on 100% cotton, cold-press (rough) French watercolour paper cut from a hand-bound sketchbook gifted to me by friends upon their return from a vacation in France. The paper was pretty stiff so it took a few tries to get my HP InkJet 4100 series printer to spit it out straight and fully inked. They the ink ran when I put a water wash over it. I had to go with the flow and know watercolour wasn't going to cut it. I'd have to pull out the gouache or acrylic paints. I thought I'd take up the challenge of gouache. I'd not used it since my art school days and that was only for very flat graphic work, but I thought if I can manipulate watercolours and use them like oils and acrylics, then I could probably figure out how to blend gouache, too.

The sketchbook paper used can be seen in this earlier video of Beam watercolour colour studies using their mixing six double primaries.

After I retired, I inherited a fair number of brushes, paints, and art supplies I was able to use in this piece from Cathy, wife of my main mentor, Michael McCarthy. It made this an extra special piece to work on.

I hope you enjoy watching the process as I work on the project. It was presented to Joy Fox, the 1st Recipient of Evelyn Hannon's Solo Woman Traveller Award on 14 June 2024. If you're signed up here for my newsletters, you can watch the presentation. It's also on my YouTube channel shorts here.

I am now finally able to begin posting the first in this series of three videos and show how I've worked my way through the commission to the FINAL painting.

Comments I've gotten so far have mainly about harmonious colour and textural quality along with rendering with gouache. I'll take that and would love to hear your thoughts, too.

Thanks for reading this far!!! And thanks Joy for commenting, friend!



1 comment

Wow what a process Brenda and you did it all without me knowing . Thank you my friend- with everything you have going on, I am honoured that you could fit this in. ❤️

Joy Fox

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