30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 23



Day 23 of 30 Paintings in 30 Days: “Perfect Practice” Pen & Ink on Canson, 140 lb. 6×6


Crave repetition
Do it right or start again
Mastery beckons

Two things today have helped to relieve some of the stress I’ve been feeling lately. First, I decided that it’s okay if I miss a day or two of painting. Second, I decided to deviate from watercolor to do something that actually needs to get done for my business. The Timeless Vintage Market is only 8 weeks away, and I still have nothing new prepared! What’s more, items continue to sell on Etsy. I’m not complaining, mind you, but the more sales I have, the less inventory there is to carry to an art show. That means it’s time to get busy making piano art again.

Usually “piano art” for me means things made from parts of old pianos, not simply 30in30 Day 23 (3)pictures of pianos. But I happen to have a few signs that need repair. On a piece of wood cut from the back of an old piano, I had lettered the phrase “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect,” inspired by my former piano teacher, and embellished it with a piece of the action from within the piano. (See photo below.) Some signs had hammers on them, while others were adorned with dampers. Unfortunately, the Commando hooks I was using to display them were not strong enough, and they came down, and the action pieces broke off of three of the signs. I’m actually glad that happened while they were still in my possession, because I like for my things to be break-resistant when they leave my studio.

I had thought of finding a new way to fasten on the action pieces… but what if I painted something in the space instead? A painting will never fall off, and it will be more recognizable than a piece of the action that is normally hidden safely inside the piano. So I searched the trusty Internet and found several images of piano silhouettes. I chose two that looked like they would fit nicely in the spaces on my signs, and for practice I drew them for today’s entry in the 30-in-30. Technically, these are not paintings, since I filled them in with ink. I was going to paint them, but decided against it at the last minute.

The Process

Sitting outside to work again today… not because it’s beautiful outside (rather overcast and borderline chilly), but because I love being outdoors. With the umbrella to shade my laptop, I can see the screen reasonably well. So I set the brightness to max, pulled up the silhouette I liked the best, and went to work.

On my paper I drew two squares in pencil the size of the spaces on my signs, where the drawings will eventually go. Then starting with the girl at the upright piano, I eye-balled the proportions, sometimes using a ruler to make straight lines. (I like to start with straight lines when they are supposed to be straight, but I ink them in free-hand, so that they are nearly straight, but not perfectly so.) I penciled in all the details, even though they would not be seen in the finished product. This helped me to understand where her legs should be, for instance.


Perfect Practice in repair

“Perfect Practice” signs hanging on my brand new pegboard wall in the studio, awaiting repair


When the sketch was complete, I inked in the outline with my 0.3 Micron pen, then filled in the entire drawing with a Milwaukee chisel tip. The chisel tip bleeds profusely, I discovered, if you let it stay too long in one place, so I had to keep it moving, especially near the edges. Some of the edges had to be cleaned up afterwards with the Micron. This is why the bench legs are so curvy. I think when I do the drawing on the wood sign, I’ll just make plain, straight legs for the bench. What do you think?

When the girl was finished, I took a break to look away, walk around the back yard, and take some pictures of the flowers. I even stopped to smell the yellow trumpet-shaped flowers that I painted on Day 21. They are not honeysuckles, but they smell very much like them. Mmm!


If you are interested in joining the challenge, you can sign up at Leslie Saeta’s 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge and then post and/or view the other entries at the linkup.

“Perfect Practice” copyright¬†¬© 2018 Angela Umphers Rueger – All Rights Reserved

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