General information Projects

Raccoon commission

Anja and Andreas have been great patrons over the years (as well as terrific friends). One Christmas, each purchased one of my paintings as a gift for the other. It took a fair amount of subterfuge to keep the double-secret, but both of them were genuinely surprised on Christmas morning.

Jaunty, 18"x18", acrylic on canvas, 2007, private collection
Jaunty, 18″x18″, acrylic on canvas, 2007, private collection
Fox &Bird, 36"x36", acrylic on canvas, 2007, private collection
Fox &Bird, 36″x36″, acrylic on canvas, 2007, private collection

Last winter, Anja decided to commission a painting for her husband’s milestone birthday. She was looking for an image that captured the spirit of their three young boys, and we decided on raccoons. Raccoons are the quintessential Toronto animal and exhibit the brothers’ same mischievous energy. Drawing the raccoons getting ready to break into a house with some serious tools struck us as funny and perfect.

Getting the painting right took a few covert studio visits and plenty of emails using accounts Andreas wouldn’t accidentally stumble upon. After a lot of colour testing and redrawing, we ended with a painting that was really exciting, with a sense of nightfall, yet the figures clearly defined.

First sketch
First sketch
Pencil study with ink
Pencil study with ink
Three Raccoons, 36"x48", acrylic on canvas, private collection
Three Raccoons, 36″x48″, acrylic on canvas, private collection (click to view large)

Though the painting was completed long before the birthday presentation, it was weeks before Anja could fabricate an alibi to visit the studio for a viewing. Delivering the painting required yet another round of stealth, but we managed to keep the surprise. Enjoy the painting, my friends!


By Rob

Rob Elliott dispenses creativity under the moniker Swizzle Studio.