My better half is celebrating her birthday today and as on many previous occasions, I designed a personalised birthday card. However, this year is one of those ‘significant’ birthdays (being a gentleman I can’t be more specific than that) so I went one step further and produced a large painted version of the same image for her to hang, er… well we haven’t quite decided where yet. Too prominent a spot – the hallway for instance! – would be unlikely to go down well with the two younger members of the family.
The choice of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus for a bit of pastiche treatment was probably the result of all the life-drawing I’ve been doing lately. Also difficult to imagine many women objecting to being likened to the Goddess of Love so I figured I was on safe ground there. The addition of Brighton Pavilion speaks for itself and as for the significance of the bike, we’ve always cycled and in fact first met on a long-distance cycling trip. How disgustingly wholesome is that? The bike also lends itself to a knee-up posture that conveniently hides the naughty bits in the picture. It’s painted on 3mm MDF board in matt emulsion of all things, not the most forgiving medium to paint with but there were match-pots of the stuff in a huge range of colours going cheap in Homebase at the time I bought the board so I impulsively bought a selection. Not one of my more inspired purchases.
Here’s another similar item I made earlier in the year, which also partly gave me the idea for the Venus painting. I’d been wondering what could I make (besides illustrations) that people might actually want to buy and on this occasion my unregulated internal voice must have said: “I know – a big cut-out ukulele hula girl!”. It was good fun to make something like this for a change and I like the way it turned out. She’s hanging on the wall right outside my studio at the moment, like some sort of fantasy Hawaiian receptionist. When I get the time I might see about producing a few more variations on this idea and explore the commercial possibilities. If anyone has a view on this one way or another, I’d love to hear!