Day Four- Margaret Keane- “Eyes are the windows to the soul.”

Okay, today I’m pretty darn excited because the artist I am celebrating is…

Margaret Keane!

Margaret Keane painting

Margaret Keane painting

This is a wall in my living room.  You can probably tell why I'm so excited to be painting today.

This is a wall in my living room. You can probably tell why I’m so excited to be painting today.

Margaret Keane is an American artist, famous for painting mainly women and children with over-sized, doe-eyes.  She was born in Tennessee in 1927.  Because I’m going to be busy tomorrow with painting (and other life things).  I’m inserting her biography via wikipedia.

Margaret D. H. Keane was born 1927 in Tennessee, and

One of my favorites…this one is framed in my living room.

One of my favorites…this one is framed in my living room.

attributes her deep respect for the Bible and inspirations of her artwork to the relationship with her grandmother. She later became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, which she claimed changed her life for the better.

In the 1960s, Margaret Keane’s artwork was sold under the name of her husband, Walter Keane, who claimed credit for her work. Conflict over that issue was cited as one of the reasons they divorced. The Keanes’ divorce proceedings went all the way to federal court. At the hearing, Margaret challenged Walter to a “paint-off” and

Just a little bit depressing. ;)

Just a little bit depressing. 😉

created a painting in front of the judge to prove that she was the artist.  Walter declined to paint before the court, citing a sore shoulder. In 1986, the courts sided with Margaret, enabling her to paint under her own name.

Her works while living in her husband’s shadow tended to depict sad children in a dark setting, but after

I love the strange sadness of her earlier paintings.

I love the strange sadness of her earlier paintings.

divorcing, moving to Hawaii, and becoming one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, her paintings took on a happier, brighter style. Her website now advertises her work as having “tears of joy” or “tears of happiness”.

Keane is a fixture in popular culture. Some of her well-known fans over the years have included actresses Joan Crawford and Natalie Wood, whose portraits she painted; filmmaker Tim Burton, who commissioned Keane to paint Lisa Marie; and animator Craig McCracken, whose characters the Powerpuff Girls are based on Keane’s “waifs”; additionally, the Girls’ schoolteacher is named “Ms. Keane”.

Getting a little brighter!

Getting a little brighter!

Currently Margaret makes her home in Napa County, California. She will be portrayed by Amy Adams in the upcoming Tim Burton film Big Eyes.

Here is the piece that I’m drawing my inspiration from for my Keane-esque painting!

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And finally, here is my Keane-esque painting!

My beginning sketch!

My beginning sketch!

When I did my initially sketch I thought, “Oh hell yeah, this is going to be awesome.” I’m pretty good about sketching out something from my mind.  I was also super excited about doing a self-portrait of myself and Taco.  I thought we were the perfect models for a Keane painting.  Then I started slapping on

Maybe this is going to be harder than I thought.

Maybe this is going to be harder than I thought.

the paint.  That’s when I realized there was going to be tons of shading and subtle detailing I had to accomplish without making it look too hard-lined and cartoonish (if that makes any sense.  There was a point where I wanted to give up, but I told myself to keep going.  As I mixed more and more shades of corresponding colors and added them to the painting.  My hopes soared and my doubts lessened and I blended and blended.  I learned much about the subtlety of shading as I painted this piece.

Just a little more shading…I could've shaded all day.

Just a little more shading…I could’ve shaded all day.

Here are some more photos of the almost final and final piece of “Taco and Mama”- my tribute to the lovely Margaret Keane.  Despite some personal home dramas that are currently

Taco!

Taco!

happening in my usually stable and peaceful abode, this painting was an absolute joy to paint.

Keane-esque Linda!

Keane-esque Linda!

I’m pretty happy with the piece…I’m definitely not as talented as Ms. Keane in her style of painting and she does usually use oils (which are much easier to shade and blend with) but I am satisfied with the result and thinks that it at least captures her style and spirit.

Taco and Mama- Linda Cleary 2014- Tribute to Margaret Keane Acrylic on Canvas

Taco and Mama- Linda Cleary 2014- Tribute to Margaret Keane
Acrylic on Canvas

Day Four was a success!  Now onto Day FIVE!!  Only 360 more days to go…

Best, Linda

I'm going to need a bigger wall...

I’m going to need a bigger wall…

2 thoughts on “Day Four- Margaret Keane- “Eyes are the windows to the soul.”

  1. Linda,
    I look forward every day to your observations on the artists lives. In addition to your painting processes you’ve done quite an amazing documentation of each artist. Thanks for sharing all of your process. xo Julianne

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