In Halloween 2015, I created my first handprint and footprint artwork for Halloween. Since then Lucky and Rowdy have helped me create a Valentine's/Spring montage and some sunflower hand/footprint art. I really wanted to do some Thanksgiving prints right when Halloween ended, but decided that I wanted to wait for both of my boys to be present for further prints. I didn't finish this project until just after Thanksgiving 2016 but I know that I will hang it proudly in my front hall every year from here on out.
Like my previous handprint/footprint artwork, I started with three 9"x12" canvases.
I mixed red, yellow and orange paint with some brown to mute the colors a bit. I want the true colors to be able to show up on top in the handprints.
The cheap acrylic paint required 2-3 coats of paint. I really like how the colors are different from the holiday canvases I already have in rotation. I also wish that I spread Lucky's "hand feathers" out a bit more.
I mixed Red, Orange and Yellow together to do the turkey hand prints. I had them create a semi-circle of feathers out of their fingers. I wish that I had started this a little higher up on the canvas, but they are cute little starbursts.
After allowing the handprint starburst feathers to dry, I painted each boy's foot with brown paint and placed the turkey body on top of the feathers. I used Lucky's left foot on the red and Rowdy's right foot on the yellow. It was hard to position the foot prints on top of the hand prints, but I think it worked out in the end. I wish the brown paint had come out a little thicker, but there is no mistaking that these are turkeys!
I used white paint dots for the eyes and red triangles to form the beaks. All of these creatures look a little creepy in the above image as I waited for the white eyes to dry. Once the eyes dried I added smaller black dots using the back of my paintbrush to form the pupils.
I needed something else Thanksgiving-y to go on the middle panel. Since I couldn't come up with a third Thanksgiving print idea that I liked, I decided to make the middle canvas simple and say "Thankful". I freehanded (gulp!) the word in the center of the canvas. I picked the (approximate) halfway point and started by panting the N and K. I worked my way out so this would be roughly centered. Now I just need to figure out how to decorate that further.
This canvas has no handprints or footprints on it. I decided to start writing the names of people I am thankful to have as a part of my life. We have our immediate ChemKnits family, grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, dear friends, and teachers.
Somehow I hit the end of my ideas and had exactly enough space to fit 2016 into the corner. I am very thankful that I was able to complete this off the cuff and have it work so perfectly!
I added some additional embellishments to the turkey canvases: "gobble, gobble gobble!" and "Happy Thanksgiving". I also added some decorations around the corners to help tie things together.
Since Thanksgiving just ended when I had finished up this project, I was able to find some 3 yard - 5/8" ribbon in the clearance bin at a local craft store.
Previously I used craft glue to secure the ribbon to the cavases, but this time I took out my hot glue gun and quickly attached the ribbon to the the back of the canvases. The glue cooled so fast that I was able to turn it over and hang it up within minutes.
I'm sure that the boys and I will do many version of these handprint turkeys over the next 17 years, but I am happy to have something to memorialize our first Thanksgiving as a family of 5. (Sorry, Indy, someday I'll include your paws in the artwork, too!)