My favorite book of all time is Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (The Little Prince in English). We have a history, this book and I. I first read it in my very early teens. My aunt (more like my sister) Beth read it because it was James Dean’s favorite book, and we were/are both a bit obsessed with James Dean. I might be remembering incorrectly, but I think she may have been so in love with the book that she read the whole thing out loud to me just so we could share the experience together.
To say that this book was a formative part of my identity is an understatement. I gave it to my friends. I’ve gone through more borrowed-out-but-never-returned copies than I can count. My French teacher in highschool wrote me a beautiful note for graduation that included my favorite passage from the book. It’s a big deal to me.
It’s also a big deal to my family. Jake was the first boy I dated who really “got” why I loved the book so much. He loved it too; I like to think of that as foretelling. He bought me a first English edition while we were dating. He even had a little book charm for my charm bracelet engraved with the title. We read the book to both Eliza and Jonas on the way home from the hospital after they were born. It’s a big deal to us.
Because having three copies of the book in the house (French, English, and antique) isn’t enough of a statement, I wanted to paint the cover of the book with my favorite quote. This is an abandoned project from 2011 that I vowed to finish this year. And finish I did.
This project took a lot of patience on my part. My painting style is much more blended–it’s easier to cover up mistakes that way and there’s less waiting for paint to dry. Saint-Exupéry had a very flat style, which means I had to get the shapes just right and fill them in, with lots and lots of layers for vibrant colors. The characters are primitive and a little wonky, but getting the wonky just right is still difficult. Just filling in the blue background took three or four layers of paint, and after seeing these close-up photos under better light it looks like I’ll be needing to add one more. Deceptively simple.
Two things I love about painting:
1) It’s easy to fix mistakes (just paint over them).
2) Mixing the perfect color is so satisfying. The ability to mix colors also makes painting cheaper than other mediums because you only REALLY need five colors: yellow, red, blue, black, and white. Though, of course, having more speeds things up a bit.
I love that doing this made the kids want to paint their own projects alongside me, but I also took a few hours alone to finish it up with my time for the Awesome Ladies Project brought to us by my friend Kristin.
I love this painting so much–now I just need to decide where to hang it!
This year it’s my goal to complete 52 projects; an average of 1 a week. Projects can be art, crafts, home improvement, tech, gardening, or whatever else my brain ventures into. The point is to MAKE. This is project 12 of 52! Check out the other projects: 1 : Script Art / 2: Striped Scarf / 3: Pillow Covers / 4: Eliza’s Doctor Who Valentines / 5: DIY Periodic Table Mirrors / 6: Band Pin Display / 7: French Monuments with Eliza’s Class / 8: Crystal Nail String Art / 9: Adventures in Dye / 10: Spring Poems / 11: Getting the Garden Going.