From the Studio: Monster Mash

Welcome back to my piano art studio. Please allow me to share with you the latest creation from the Encore studio, and tell you why and how I stepped outside of the box for a change.

In our family, the time between dinner and bedtime are often spent watching a couple favorite TV shows or a movie. I’ve taken to cleaning piano parts while I watch, as a way to “redeem the time.” It’s fairly tedious work that requires no mental exertion whatsoever, so it’s the perfect thing to keep my hands busy while my mind is at rest. Anything that cannot get a water bath gets a good scrubbing with a wire brush. Then I separate the many pieces with a pin extractor built expressly for this purpose. The pins are collected into a jar, and the pieces are sorted and stored. Some of them after separation, if they don’t have felt on them, can get that water bath, which gets them cleaner than brushing alone.

One night as I scrubbed, separated, and sorted, I ended up with quite a few wippens that still had a flange glued to them. The glue was stubborn, and I wasn’t able to break them apart. I held one of them up and said to my 19-year-old daughter, “Hey, this kinda looks like a zombie.” She agreed. Now, if my children’s fascination with zombies is any indication of the general popularity of these mythical undead, then I thought perhaps I should look into actually using the zombies in a painting.

My paintings all get musical names. It’s a thing I do. Sometimes I use a single term that describes the theme or purpose for a particular piece. Sometimes it’s a song title. Naturally, my mind went straight to the song “Monster Mash.”

With Halloween fast approaching, I pushed myself to get this project out of the “do” stage and into the “done” stage. The hardest part was deciding which colors to use and how to use them. I listened to recordings of the song and learned that it came out in 1962.

“What if I used a color palette from the 60’s?”

“Great idea, Angela!”

“Thank you!”

(Don’t mind me. I’m just talking to myself. Lol)

Not all wippens look alike, and only one piano has given me a set suitable as zombies. But if I put 13 zombies on each canvas (Yes, I chose that number deliberately.), I have enough for five paintings. In my Google search of 60’s colors, I also found five patterns I could use in the background. In that way, although I employ the same color scheme for each one, changing up the patterns will allow me to present five one-of-a-kind paintings.

It took four tries to get each color just exactly as I wanted it, neither too psychedelic nor too understated. I have no formal training in art, so mixing paints is more a matter of happenstance for me than science. But I learned a lot in the process, including how to judge what the color will look like when dry. My math skills were put to use in determining the angle for each ray and its placement on the canvas. I used a protractor and ruler to measure the angles and mark the lines; but when it came time to paint, I used only a three-quarter-inch flat brush and a steady hand. After all, this is a party, so I didn’t want it to look too sterile. At the same time, I had confidence that I could paint in straight lines well enough to make this look professional.

The first painting is complete, and that’s probably as far as I’m going to get for now. At this point I plan to release #2 in October 2021, and #3-5 will all be released in October 2022, in honor of the 60th anniversary of the hit song for which the painting is named.

“Monster Mash” #1 of 5 is currently available for sale on Etsy. Please check it out. I offer free domestic shipping on everything in the shop, and I’ll work with you for a fair price on international shipping.

♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

Thank you for joining me on this tour of the studio. I look forward to seeing you on the next one. Until then, I invite you to check out photos of my other work in the gallery. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Published by Angela Umphers Rueger

Hello. I am a joyful wife and mother of three, just turned loose the last of my little chicks, and getting ready to spread my own writing wings. Twenty-six years ago I earned a B.A. in English because my heart's desire was to write. Since that time I've worked as a teacher, musician, cleaning lady, tax professional, and artist, but never as a writer. In the past year, several friends have encouraged me to pick up the baton and run with it. By creating this blog, I took the first baby step toward becoming a published author. The journey will likely be longer than I can imagine, but it has finally begun, and that's all that matters.

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