How many characters do you see in the story, and what do you imagine about each one?
The big brother is kind of taking charge of this sand project. He's in the middle of things, holding the shell to form it just right, maybe even protecting his creation from the little one. He's obedient to wear the crisp white shirt, yet his free spirit shows through his braided bracelets and shaggy hair.
The sweet little one sits up straight to be just as big as everybody else. She's got on her ruffly dress, so she knows she's pretty today. Because she's feels fancy, she's not quite sure she wants to be in on the sand pile. But, she doesn't want to miss out on being a part of whatever the big kids are doing!
Then there's the lovely sister who's pulling sand up and trying to help build the pile. Her tank top and shorts are right for the beach; however, she's girly enough to make sure she's got her necklace and earrings, and she's just sassy enough to put on her favorite headband - no matter what color it is!
The kids are great, but the character that I love is the fourth one... the wind. It may not be visible, but what would this image be without it! The wind drives the story! As it whips the hair and ribbons, it brings life to the story! The wind is the springboard of imagination! It's the wind that lets my mind wander to where this story takes place, to what these children are feeling, to how loud their voices must be, to the pinprick feel of sand that blows into their skin...
I almost painted this on a square canvas. At the very last minute, I decided against it... The square canvas left out the wind... That sounds like an "artsy" thing to say, but it's true. (The square canvas told a completely different story - three kids with messy hair were making a pile... that's it... no imagination, no wondering, nothing to hear, nothing to feel...) Those few inches on either side showed where the wind was coming from, what it was carrying along, and where it was going.