My darling friends, hello! I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to share this one. It started out as just a silly adventure to upset my children but now … I find I’m pretty struck by it … so I’m sharing!
When I was a child I had this piggy bank. The story goes that I was roughly two years old when my mother popped me into a stroller and took me to the fateful garage sale that brought her into my life. I was smitten and for a dollar she came home with us.
There was no plug in the bottom of the pig. Well, more accurately there was a cork but it had been pushed inside the pig at some point, which made it pretty well useless. There was also a very old piece of chewed gum inside that was stuck so hard and fast it had become part of the structure. I loved her and then lost her somehow over the years.
At the end of 2020 I thought of her and decided to head to ebay to see if I could locate one and DAMMIT I DID. And I bought it and oh do I love her still. No gum in this one though. As soon as I unwrapped her my children both exclaimed their horror. ‘Oh my god it’s terrifying!’ ‘Mom, that’s just haunted and gross! Put it away.’ I knew I was on to something. They had given my pig a whole different kind of power and what better way to capture that than to do a 3ft x 4ft painting of her! MWAHAHAHAHAHA.
I had this very large and very nice grey background sitting on my easel, just begging for a pig … so I started in. I used zinc white and raw umber to get the basic image on there (after some sketching with white chalk). The zinc white is really really nice for this as it’s relatively translucent so doesn’t present such a concrete block of white as titanium white would. I find titanium white useful for strong highlights, reflections in eyes and such. Also lovely for mixing with other colors to create some solid texture to go under other colors, but otherwise it mostly sits unused in the studio.
I was really happy with the color choices here and really didn’t mix but used the colors directly from the tube… unfortunately, I didn’t snap a photo of the tubes so I’m useless and cannot recount which choices I made. But I kept them pretty well pure and flinched a little bit at that red, but I stuck with it. This pig wants to be seen.
At this point I really wanted to dull the vibrancy a small bit and pull it into the background just a small amount. I went in with lots of burnt umber (to warm things up a little) thinned with linseed oil to ensure vast transparency. Layer by layer I built it up until I felt the right side was appropriately shaded.
These final touches, highlights, eyebrows, hair and eyelashes still give me some pause but … the pig really and truly does have awful detailing so at least it’s honest.
I love her and I do see the inconsistencies. The nose shape isn’t accurate, or the mouth or the eyes… basically the face isn’t right on … but really is the face I think of when I picture her, so in my head it’s perfect.
My children hate it! I feel such delight. To increase the drama and horror of such a gigantic haunted pig painting I have purchased a wood burning tool (my last one broke) and I will be burning some runes and spells of some sort into the frame on the back. I may never ever sell her, because if I did … what would haunt my children?