Back in December last year I started painting on old ivory piano keys. A piano key is a perfect size for a miniature, and ivory was a traditional surface for early miniaturists to work on. Each key has a character of its own, with variety of colour and texture, some showing the grain of the ivory. It is a slightly strange feeling painting on a surface that still has the qualities of the animal that it came from, but there is a warmth to it that other surfaces cannot copy. Since it has been fashioned into a piano key it has taken on other characteristics as a result of many fingers playing the piano, with all the emotions that go with learning and playing an instrument, so I feel my use is just another step in its history.
These are continuing the Japanese inspired theme that has pervaded my work this year, albeit unintentionally. The one at the top, which I am calling ‘The Chase’ will be submitted to the Australian Society of Miniature Art annual awards exhibition in June, the one on the left below, called Palm Shadow will be submitted to a miniature exhibition with a Japanese theme in August, the one in the middle below, which I have titled ‘Dappled Light’ will be submitted to another show in July, and I have no plans as yet for the last one which is called ‘Treescape’. Palm Shadow was the first one I did, and was in a post in December last year (see here), but I have done more work on it since then (I think its title needs to change too, it doesn’t seem quite right any more).
Each key is 23 x 47 mm, and I have used oil paint on them, with some scratching back with a fine needle.