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DA birthday is a personalized celebration that only comes around once a year. One of the most rewarding benefits to being a highly creative person is being able to use that power for good, especially when birthdays are concerned. I love making birthday presents. I also love surprises. I got to mix both for Margot this year!BEFORE

When Margot's wife, the amazing mixed-media artist, Erin Perry, clued me in on a pair of hand-painted TOMs on Etsy (by SomethingFromTheSun) that had Margot drooling, a plan hatched. Erin surreptitiously purchased a pair of TOMs and passed them off to me to do "the dirty work," so to speak. I was thrilled about the project!

The original inspiration was a large, colorful tropical bird in its native flora and foliage, so that's the direction I went, too. I stuffed the TOMs with newspaper, grabbed an ink pen, and did a rough sketch directly on the canvas. Then, I dug out my Dewalt toolbox full of Lumiere and Neopaque paints and picked out a bunch of colors: Metallic Rust, Citrine, Turquoise, Blue, Yellow, Red, Magenta, Green, White, Violet, and Black.

001Start

I grabbed a brush pack and pulled out the small round brush and the small square tipped brush, since I'd only be painting detail-rich images. I shook the paints well and used the inside of all the lids as many mini pallets. I applied the paint in layers, mixing on the brush as I went. I didn't really rinse until after an area was complete. Click on the photo below to see this technique in action.

PurpleFlowersGIFAlternating between Violet + White to make a cluster of flowers

I know this project is a little bit more advanced than we usually blog about. We like to keep most of our posts attainable for DIYers of all levels because we want to share our knowledge with you and have it be successful.

But, when it's a co-conspiritor's birthday, and you're the one who "paints-things-that-look-like-things" (as Margot always calls me) in the duo, you go all out! She deserves the very best! 

042-MsBday Margot's painted Tom's-resized

PS – When Erin and I presented these to her at her birthday BBQ, her jaw dropped when she unwrapped them. She was already over the moon before she looked at me incredulously and squeaked, "Wait… You PAINTED these!?"

All I could do was laugh and say, "UM! DUH! Of course!" It's nice to know I can still surprise her on occasion, even seven years later. Happiest of Birthdays to you, Margot!

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