Camping at Disney

My late mother-in-law loved to see her children and grandchildren happy. 

We decided to go camping at Disney World for my oldest’s 10th birthday and while she loved being around her “grandbabies”…she just wasn’t well enough to go camping. 

She used to bug me that she wanted a big family portrait with all of her children and grandchildren in it and everyone but three were able to go camping this weekend…so I knew it was my chance to get close to making exactly what she wanted!

Sketch of the extended family portrait with a car in it that never made it to the final painting.

We started out with a sketch and a text to everyone showing an idea of what would be created. 

I later discovered that there was no way to fit all of this on a portrait that would have a more “regular size” to it….so some changes had to be made in the end…but such is life. 

Since these are my in-laws, I kinda know them all pretty well and personality tests didn’t happen. We were just going to roll with our typical camping attire of shorts, t-shirts, and swim suits. 

Composite of the campsites at Fort Wilderness at Disney World with a grassy background instead of trees.

I began this painted portrait with a composite of the campsite from about seven different images. The tent is huge and had to be split into two pictures that I stitched together to make it look like one. Also, the campsites there have lots of trees and bushes which make each site more private…but produce a very busy backdrop…so I took those out and added a sky and grass that I had instead. 

Campsite with big giant tent at Fort Wilderness in Disney World. Some clouds, sunshine, and clouds spelling out

I added a little sunshine to the background, some clouds, and ‘cloud-like’ letters spelling out “Feliz Navidad” since this was going to be my mother-in-law’s Christmas present. 

Now some people have been added to the Fort Wilderness campground portrait. There's a mom jumping, another mom ready to catch something, and two boys looking like they're going to throw something.

Now it’s time to add people! Since I was putting myself almost the most furthest back in this painting, I’m up first jumping to catch a kiddo who will be added. My sister-in-law is next to me ready to catch a kiddo who will be added later and two kiddos are striking poses for an epic water balloon fight. 

Two teen age children added with a hammock that's moving quickly. Along with another mom ready to catch a child and a dad with meat to grill and another dad looking up at the sky near the grill.

And now it’s time to add some of the older cousins with a hammock that they’re going to use to launch their younger cousins. Another mom’s been added ready to catch a child and my husband is getting ready to grill with big flames with his brother’s empty plate that will have hamburger patties added. 

Here I’ve added three girl cousins who are going to be painting a rainbow in the sky. The two younger girl cousins are striking poses to act like they’re throwing water balloons at their big cousins who are going to launch their brothers. And one more brother-in-law is holding up his daughter to paint the sky and acting like he was eating a s’more. (I added the s’more later.) And some fire’s been added to the grill. 

A baby deer has been added along with a dad lifting weights with candy canes, a turkey, and another mom acting like she's eating a s'more.

Since it’s weird to magically lose your legs and hang from the sky, I made it incredibly more realistic by adding a cloud to hold up the cousin up in the air. JA! And another sister-in-law has been added along with a picnic table and she’s pretending to eat a s’more. My brother-in-law is flexing his muscles to weight lift super heavy…candy canes. Oh and turkeys run around Fort Wilderness a lot…so I added one of those for fun. 

Two more cousins were added here who are being launched by their older cousins. S’mores are now in the hands of the dessert lovers and giant butterflies have been added around the top rainbow painter…just for good measure. 

Water balloons, another child being launched from the hammock, and candy canes have now all been added making the compositing portion of this extended family painted portrait at Disney's Fort Wilderness complete.

And, last, but not least…the last launched cousins have been added along with a rainbow, water balloons, and candy canes! 

Now that the compositing is done…it’s time for digital painting. 

Digital painting takes quite a bit of time to complete and adds in better coloring, lighting, strokes, and vibrance to the portrait. Below is what it looks like after I’ve digitally painted this portrait. 

Here are some close up portions of the digitally painted portrait. 

Up close image of girl standing on father's hand painting sky with a juice box.
Up close of painting showing two moms ready to catch sons being launched.
Up close of mom eating a s'more at Disney's Fort Wilderness in Orlando Florida.
Up close of dad in extended family portrait eating a s'more at Disney's Fort Wilderness Orlando FL

Then this was printed on canvas and acrylics were painted over the canvas finishing the masterpiece.
Some close up views are shown below. 

Up close of painted portrait of mom trying to catch her son who's been launched by his cousins.
Deer at Fort Wilderness Disney campground in Orlando, FL painted portrait with boy flying through the air.
Close up detail of dad grilling at Fort Wilderness showing the acrylic paints on the canvas portrait.
Dad lifting candy canes like he's lifting weights painted portrait details with acrylics showing on canvas.
Boy getting ready to throw a purple water balloon close up detail of painting on canvas with acrylics.

And that’s how this was made!

My mother-in-law grabbed it, ooh-ed and ahhh-ed, counted all her people, immediately hung it on her wall, and told me she still wants another one with EVERYONE in it. JA! 

Love and hugs to you,


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