My precious

I knew that one of the prompts in my 18 Day Painting Challenge was "a character from Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings".  So, many days ago, when I was sitting with Max (our hedgehog) in the evening, I did a Google search for image ideas.  Gollum jumped right out at me.  It had been years since I saw those movies but that character is so unforgettable.

On Day 16, that little piece of paper with "a character from Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings" finally emerged.  I didn't even need to think; I knew exactly what I needed to paint.


I got a lot done on this complex painting by 9 am.  But, as with many of these painting projects, I needed extra time to make sure that the painting got finished.  This collection of six photos shows the progress of the first couple of hours.  People seem to really enjoy seeing the various stages.  One noted how the emotion of Gollum seemed to change from the first to the sixth.

I went back after this series of photos, did some final work with the hair and the colour balance, then signed the painting.

"I sure hope you are going to call this one My Precious," someone commented.

"That is a fabulous idea," I replied.


I had butterflies in my stomach most of the day, as I had my first live painting event in several months last night.  I had been invited to attend the Malanka celebration in thanks for donating one of my canvas prints of "Resilience and Courage", the popular portrait of Gord Downie.  I asked if I could do a live painting to further support the group, rather than just attending as a guest.  Organizers seemed OK with the idea.


I wanted to paint something that captured the energy of Ukrainian dancing.  The first image I saw on my Google search happened to have been taken by Greg Halinda, one of the parents who volunteers with the club.  He graciously gave me a whole bunch of options, but this stunning shot of dancer Abram Meagher, suspended in the air, was just so perfect.

Photo by Kiran Malik-Khan

I set myself up in the corner of Shell Place and got started just before people started streaming in for the event at 5:30.  I had lots of visitors through the night, including lots of kids who came back time and again to check in.  They patiently listened as I talked through my strategy with the painting.  I started by getting the face done, then did a black background before filling in the details of the pants and shirt.

"The magic is going to happen right at the end," I said.


I applied teal blue and phthalo turquoise with streaks of light at the very end.  All of a sudden, Abram jumped off the canvas.


My thanks Greg Halinda for capturing the energy-filled moment that inspired "The Spirit of the Dance". It was sold in a live auction, raising an additional $625 for the Fort McMurray Ukrainian Cultural Society. 

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