Skip to content

Radio – Art f.m.

October 15, 2009

My wonky picture of a radio illustrates how I felt when starting this blog back in May of this year. Rather like fiddling with the dial on an old battered shortwave radio that wasn’t quite on the station, with plenty of static. I did not have a clue. And I was terrified about putting my stuff on show.

There was no need to worry, as I discovered. My flabber has been utterly ghasted (I’m taking anti-biotics for it) by the encouragement, warmth and generosity shown to me by my fellow bloggers. You all know who you are. On an almost daily basis, I’m inspired, stimulated and influenced (and often intimidated) by the abundant wealth of artistic talent out there.

What a truly fantastic bunch you all are.

Once I started tuning in properly, the tips, techniques and opinions began to come in loud and clear.

This post was composed yesterday. Just before publishing it today, I saw Anya Galkina’s latest post where her purple prose (cola-fuelled) says “…art is a conversation between souls.” And I’m tuning in, tuning in slowly like a radio (radio, radio, radio).


Another reason I chose to paint this radio was to practise the wet-on-wet technique – hugely inspired as I was by the quirky and humorous work of Karen Kurycki – her ‘Social Mixer’ being my favourite.

Literally, for days I’ve been working and working away at it. Heck! So many versions of this radio have been done that I’ve lost count. Although becoming more familiar with the technique there’s a very long way to go before I can come close to Karen’s immense skills.

But who knew that controlling and manipulating a bit of paint with water could be so, really, hugely, DIFFICULT??? Gaah!

Well I didn’t. But I do now!

  1. October 15, 2009 2:41 pm

    June, this is great. I love the radio. The granulation to this is a nice effect. Oh….the attention to detail and I love it that it is not drawn to perfection with templates used for measuring. The speaker and the dial are so cool. Thanks for the link to Karen Kurycki. That was enjoyable!

    • October 15, 2009 4:39 pm

      Yeeargh! I wanted to comment on your wax-resist post before you saw this 🙂 – nothing gets past you.

      Heh! I think you can probably tell by now that I find less perfect things more interesting. The red 3D effect on the body of the radio was the bit that fascinated me and with which I really struggled. The granulation was salt added too late – and I was a bit cross-eyed when I’d completed the speaker grid.

      Karen Kurycki’s painting is so fresh, fun and different – also it’s more relevant to me as an illustrator.

  2. October 15, 2009 3:32 pm

    Isn’t this a fine community – thank you for all your contributions and supportive commentary. This is such a cool painting.

    • October 15, 2009 4:54 pm

      Yep, artists rock – we have a mutual appreciation society going on. Thank you Stephen, I don’t think of it as a painting per se, more an illustration, especially as there’s no background.

  3. October 15, 2009 4:13 pm

    You’re one of my favorite stations to tune in… you rock! I’m also amazed by the talent you and other blogger friends have published. I’m intimidated by the talent and sometimes wonder how I can compete with such creativity and talent.
    Yourself, Leslie, swatch, deva, Lynn and so many more not only have the artistic talent but amazing creativity.

    • October 15, 2009 5:09 pm

      Thankyoukindsir – but you’re one of us and we all rock, just in a variety of ways. Believe me, your work blows me away and has both inspired and intimidated me as well. In my class today I tried painting a leopard that was so awful even the teacher laughed out loud. You excel at painting wildlife, amongst other things. We all feel intimidated occasionally but that’s what I’m saying, we learn from each other. Art blogging is such a positive thing and now that I’m settled down and am doing things at a pace suitable to me – it makes me a very happy bunny :mrgreen:

  4. October 15, 2009 7:30 pm

    Another score for Mistress Splodge! I love it like I love ice cream. One of your strengths is being able to give great presence and character to the objects you paint. This radio is CROTCHETY AWESOMENESS! I can hear it sitting there and harrumphing, “Kids these days! All this rocking roll! Why, in my day…”

    I also have a terrible urge to sell this radio on eBay. 😀

    With regards to dimension, what creates the illusion of 3D is conveying how the object is lit. If you can give information about highlight, middle-light, core shadow and reflected light, it will read 3D no matter what the texture or how fine or gestural the painting style. Ms. Brannigan has more detail in a tutorial here:, but the basic gist is:
    1. You have a lit area and a shadow area.
    2. On the lit area, there is a highlight.
    3. In the shadow area, close to the edge of the object, there is reflected light that is lighter than the rest of the shadow, but darker than anything in the lit area.
    4. On the border where light and shadow meet, the shadow has a dark band known as core shadow – the direct light is not reaching the form, but the form hasn’t gone far enough to have reflected light bounce on it from the surroundings.
    5. The contrast and edge crispness of the areas depends on how brightly the object is lit and on how smooth or velvety its surface is. Shiny stuff reflects more light, so it has bigger differences between core shadow and reflected light, and will also have a stronger highlight.

    Rinse and repeat 😀

    In the case of the CROTCHETY AWESOME radio, it looks like it’s lit from the top. That means the front plane is in shadow, or at least receives less light. Also, the bottom half of the dial thingy would be darker than the top – since there is a shadow under the radio, there would probably be a shadow under the knobby thing on the dial. But the biggest thing that gives dimension is making sure that light, shadow and reflected light read as discreet value masses. Which is bloody hard on an object with this much surface change and detail, and is probably crazy hard on something like a leopard. My mind boggles at the idea of tackling any of it in watercolour. I am a watercolour coward.

    But I like this painting so much just as it is. I especially love the irregular mesh on the …meshed thingy, it makes the whole thing have so much more of that AWESOME.

    I think what makes an illustration an illustration is that it is meant to support a text. In that sense, all the biblical scenes by all the Great Cahoonas of Western Art are illustrations. It’s not really a style thing so much as whether the image functions to support a story and whether it’s intended that way or can stand on its own.

    *whispers* Is my post really that purple? *cries* was going for chartreuse.

    • October 16, 2009 6:40 pm

      As you are well known for your great love for ice cream, especially painting it, that’s praise indeed so I thank you. I attempt to reflect what I see around me in a way that tells a story, maybe even to provoke thought, so I guess substance wins over style and accuracy for illustration purposes.

      Which is not to say that I’m not eager to learn how to balance the two – so am thankful for indirectly benefiting from the lessons you’ve paid for – who says blogging doesn’t pay? And Ms. Brannigan is a font of learning as are you.

      Handling watercolour paint is tricky 😯 – but rewarding. I know that oils are not to be trusted either, so swings and roundabouts.

      Lastly, chartreuse happens to be my favourite colour at the moment – covering my sofa cushions in it – makes me yearn for gin and tonic for some reason. But charteuse prose? Nah! Whatever, it was a superb post.

      When I’ve done some, I’ll e-mail them to you so that you can have a good laugh.

  5. October 15, 2009 7:46 pm

    P.S. If you are struggling with making things round, try doing some bubbles that have 4 gradations of light and dark: light, highlight, shadow and reflected light. If you do a bunch of those, then everything else is just an oddly shaped bubble and will be much easier.

    I think I have brain diarrhea today.

  6. October 15, 2009 8:10 pm

    Hi June. I just love this painting! I was looking around on your blog. There is more that I like! My son (14) was looking over my shoulder at the aliens with a: “I want to draw like this!”

    • October 16, 2009 6:41 pm

      Thank you Cecily. Having seen your own paintings, your son obviously has a good tutor.

  7. October 17, 2009 2:37 am

    Hey June!

    Great radio! It has a personality all it’s own. I smiled when I saw it.

    You have a special talent in that you can make inanimate object COME ALIVE! Like your floor rag that you turned into a woman all twisted, this radio seems like it’s ready to have a conversation with you. (Or conversate with you as some of those kids say.)

    Love the color and the mesh on the front. I want to adjust the dial and I can hear myself cursing and moving the antenna cause I can’t get my favorite station without static. Really lovely job. And the watercolor handling is top-notch!

    • October 17, 2009 11:07 am

      Ah Carol, thank you this means a lot. Especially for the part concerning my watercolour handling. Because (as a fellow learner) you know well, how it has a high level of movement, flows independently with unpredictable colour dispersion and is crazy difficult to control.

      Those highlighted bits are not simply a result of lifting-off, but also careful paint placement, knowing how much paint to load on the brush, turning the paper around. Phew! I find it pretty exciting though. Yes, that is how I get my thrills these days 😦

      I can hear you cursing as well.

  8. eclectnik permalink
    October 19, 2009 6:10 pm

    Fab as usual! How do you find the time to labour away like this? The time you spend obviously paid off as your radio is brilliant. And it’s a proper radio too, none of that DAB nonsense, so it has character and integrity. It’s the radio in our kitchen, or the radio you listened to under the bedclothes as a teenager. I can feel it and smell it and sense the roundness. It’s real!

    • October 21, 2009 1:36 pm

      Hope it didn’t smell bad – and I thought I was the only teen who listened to the radio under my bedclothes when I should’ve been asleep. As usual, your comment is F.A.B. 😀 could tell you were waving your arms about with enthusiasm as you typed it.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: