What a Steal!

This morning on my way to the gym and back, I came across some beautiful furniture sitting in the rubbish.  It is Tuesday and this is when rubbish is collected.  In Amsterdam quite a few people are too lazy to sell on Marktplaats (Dutch version of eBay) or too rich to care and prefer to “donate” it to the public by just dumping unwanted furniture, books and clothes on the street, hoping someone would take them.  I never rummage through rubbish like that, but today this wooden country-style bureau happened to sit there waiting to have it’s feet swept off the pavement.  Too much to resist.  In the end, I helped myself to that as well as a red bookcase, lamp and a small crate.  I can’t believe I actually managed to carry them all back (10 min walk one way). Two trips of course.   And what a workout that was, in addition to the 30 minutes on the cross-trainer!

So naturally, I wanted to paint about it as well as write about it here.  I thought the red bookcase would be perfect to store and display my Hello Kitty dollies, although it needs to be mounted on the wall firstly.  And today, I decided to incorporate some collage into my artwork.  Firstly, I spread some Ecoline ink with some brush (pastel blue, pink and turquoise) and then added some squiggles with blue and pink oil pastel.  Brushed some wavy lines with green acrylic paint (yellow green and permanent green).


Then I traced “me” in pencil and placed the collages.  I found some boxes from a series of Hello Kitty toys and cut out the parts I wanted in the painting.  These will represent the bookcases in which I would like Hello Kitty’s to be displayed.  For my dress, I thought I’d do something different!  I got this idea from a few other artists like Juliette Crane who uses origami paper collages in her work.  As I do have quite a few of them sitting in my drawer, I thought why not use them?  So I cut out a dress shape which I realise now looks really pretty and something I ought to do more often!  I also pasted on some flower cut-outs in pink and silver.


For my face and hair, I also experimented with new methods.  I firstly drew my hair with water-soluble wax crayons (Caran d’Ache 30 NeoColor II) in Raw Umber and Brown.  Then brushed over it with Burnt Umber and Burnt Sienna acrylic paints so the crayons would blend in yet leave some streaks which I thought would give that “hair with some loose strands” effect.  I brushed a layer of gesso on the face this time and with the remaining brown mixture, I combined a bit of that with Naples Yellow Red.  Looks quite effective!

IMG_1765 (1)

Then I added the arms in red acrylic and eyes in water-soluble coloured pencils (later to be filled in).  I designed two bookcases again in water-soluble pencil but in purple and spread it with a wet brush dipped in matte medium for some thickness.  And then I added some details using silver ink pen.  So far so cute!  I finished off the painting with some inked stamps (pink flowers, green leaves and a red butterfly) and some details in white posco ink pen, along with the eyes.

IMG_1777This time I didn’t add another layer over the background as I normally would with mixed media because I liked the way it was.  I was also more focussed on the collages.  In the end, the winking of the eyes was a bit of a challenge.  I had to redo them a few times using black ink then some bronze.  The inside of the opened left eye was too light with just the pencil and then too dark with the acrylic but when I added some brown ecoline ink all was fine.  Also, it’s been a while since I’ve done collages, and I forgot how fun they are!  I should make more use of the available origami paper I have, as they can make the painting look very pretty.

I have to say this painting looks very “Japanese” with the origami patterns as well as the anime characters in it.  Oh and not to mention the manga eyes.  How kawaii!!

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