Archive for ‘paint’

April 1, 2013

painting and dEGGorating

Do you understand the point of painted eggs? Nor do I, but some people seem to take the art very seriously (especially the Ukrainians, golly). And since I spent Easter with some friends who are both arty and eggy, it was time to give it a try.

First step: blowing eggs. I’d never done this before, and until we found a bigger pin with which to make the holes it was quite taxing. And gross-looking.

Second step: busting out the gouache, acrylic ink, felt pens and gold paint, and filling the eggspanse.

Egg no.1: Terror lurks in the sky for the innocent herbivore…

eggstinction herb

…and for the carnivores!

eggstinction panic

They’re right to look a little worried, for EGGSTINCTION is imminent.

Egg no.2: EGGTOPUS. Click for bigger.
eggtopus

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May 16, 2012

Watercolour is too damn watery

The order of a spectrum of pigment pans; the disorder of the paint splatters; the neat tin with fold-out palette: this sight is pleasing to me.

A less pleasing sight is what I am capable of painting with it.

Here’s the galling thing: I was better at watercolour when I was nine. (I was better at most things when I was nine. Peaked too early.) My school art teacher taught us the main watercolour techniques with a classic newbie watercolour exercise: making us paint pictures of a tree on a hilltop, next to a piece of broken fence. Somewhere my parents have a stack of my pictures of trees next to broken fences, and I dare say Monet’s mum got a bit sick of looking at his poplar paintings too.

Anon, I grew up, and put away such childish things. I didn’t paint much again till my mid-twenties, whereupon I was on a far more cartoonish streak painting in acrylics – I will try to dig out some pictures of these sometime.

Anyway, for some reason, after some twenty years not missing them, I chose to use watercolour to paint my brother’s Edinburgh poster last year. It didn’t turn out terribly well, albeit with mitigating circumstances as I mentioned, and it reminded me that actually I quite hate watercolour. How are you supposed to exert control over something that is so damned runny? How are you supposed to love a medium that won’t let you cover up your mistakes? An even bigger problem for me is reversing the mindset I got into through acrylic and oils, with which you add light; watercolour is all about taking away light, which necessitates too much forward planning for my tastes.

But I can’t put away the watercolours quite yet, in case I just hate them because I’m crap at using them. Hatred is bred of fear. I MUST BEAT MY WATERCOLOUR FEAR.

With postcards.

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Watch out, friends! If you invite me over for a meal, three days afterwards you’ll probably be assaulted by a practice watercolour postcard depicting something that cropped up during our discourse.

For Catherine, who cooked us Sunday lunch, the swan above. After we ate, she took us for a walk along the canal, and waited patiently whilst my husband spent an inordinate amount of time trying to take Instagram pictures of swans grooming themselves.

Then we were fed supper by Racton and Eleanor, who wound up with:

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I can’t remember why Robert Evans came up in conversation, but the caption is from our friend Amy’s bravura recreation of The Kid Stays In The Picture. If she ever decides to go professional with the after-dinner speaking in the manner of 1970s Hollywood producers, I’ll let you know, because it would definitely be worth the fee.

October 10, 2011

The three faces of Andy Zaltzman

Maybe he doesn’t like photoshoots; maybe he’s gathering material for a museum devoted to his own image; but for some reason, my brother has asked me to paint him for his past three Edinburgh posters. He always does this a couple of days before the deadline, so there’s only enough time to churn out the pictures, but not enough to improve them. Also, today’s lesson is that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, as I think these get worse as they progress. The first is my favourite:


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October 9, 2011

Knobs!

Get your minds out of the gutter. Yeesh.

My brother is of the opinion that functional objects might as well be decorative too, and his children have a preponderance of built-in cupboards in their bedroom, so I was charged with titivating two dozen plain 4cm wooden knobs.

As happens in most of my projects, I put the knobs on a shelf and forgot about them for the best part of a year, until my brother gently intimated that his kids might actually like to be able to open their cupboards someday. So I busted out the acrylic paints and got to work.

Annoyingly, the only pictures I have are crappy camera phone ones, their lack of clarity compounded by the glare of the shiny varnish. Therefore please pretend that the photos are from the early 90s and you’ve never seen HD before.

Observe that there are several different sets, with quite a strong Greek myth bias because my brother and his wife both have Classics degrees and therefore the children were born fluent in the dead languages. The opportunity to tell the story of Theseus and the Minotaur through the medium of knobs was too rare to pass up.

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