Every year I do paint a special portrait for Christmas and use it as my Christmas card. I have been wanting to do another mouse portrait and the idea of painting the Mouse King came to me while watching the Battle of the Nutcrackers on Ovation. Anyone familiar with that ballet and story knows that the Mouse King is not the most likable character so my Mouse King is more a representation of the wise and benevolent leader I imagine the character could be.
This portrait began very differently and even though at the time I was pleased with the sketches, I found myself hesitating to begin the actual painting. I know my own process fairly well and tried to trust that I was resisting it for a reason and let the sketches sit for about 2 weeks. Finally I figured out that what was bothering me was that I wanted this mouse to be more realistic and expressive then he was in these initial sketches which seemed too stylized and simplistic.
So I sat down with it once again and tried using just his head and shoulders and knew right away that I was on the right track. It is always difficult to change direction once you are set on a particular sketch but I've learned that moving forward on an idea that I am not fully committed to usually leads to a mediocre piece at best.
I had originally intended to put a swag of garland behind him but I was so happy with the peaceful night time feel of the portrait that I decided to paint the garland separately and use it for the Christmas card but keep the portrait itself simple. I offer it both ways in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits.