An electric guitar without strings....

As a watercolor artist, what I’m asked to paint is sometimes astounding. To be honest, what I agree to paint is even more shocking! Still, I have a considerable sense of humor, I’m a good sport, and patient – three qualities I may need in abundance in the coming weeks.  

The local Chamber of Commerce has planned a project to render our town instantly recognizable as the “Ice Cream Capital of the World” to visitors who didn’t already know that official fact. To that end, about thirty 3-D sculptures of single-dip ice cream cones have been ordered. I was the artist of choice for a sponsoring business that picked my name from a list of “volunteers.” The 6-foot ice cream cone sculptures are to be painted and will be placed near each of the sponsoring businesses, so passersby won’t be able to miss the fact that ice cream is BIG in this town.  My sponsor and I are collaborating on a clever design for the fiberglass cone. I’ll admit the shape of this sculpture is limiting to me. It is hard to  see it as anything other than what it is – a very large ice cream cone.  I thought perhaps ideas would come to mind if I were to translate the published dimensions of the cone to a diagram on graph paper.  It will be 6 feet tall overall, 6 inches wide at the bottom of the cone, 18“ wide at the top of the cone, with a spherical dip of ice cream 30 inches in diameter. A friend dropped by and noticed my drawing. She asked, “Why are you drawing an old microphone?” Now there’s an idea! Not a good one, but an idea.

Another project is a fundraising effort of the Art Center near where I live.  This is the third year this Art Center has called for artist volunteers to paint old chairs or small tables that owners no longer want. Donating them for this fund raiser is more palatable than simply trashing them. The resulting colorful and clever pieces of furniture are first shown at the county fair, and then put up for bids in a blind silent auction. The bidding was lively for the first two auctions, and I was well satisfied at the amount of money each of my two chairs brought at auction. Today I'm sharing some photos of the Queen of Hearts chair I painted 

last year. The time I donated brought a good return for the art center. Thisyear I will paint an old lamp table with a small drawer. It is old, and while appealing, it is loose in the joints. So my first task will be to find a way to firm it up. No unique idea for a painting theme has yet popped into my thoughts, but at least it is not shaped like a microphone and is not 6 feet tall.

A third project, also a fund-raiser for an art center, is to paint the front surface of a guitar. This lovely art center is located in a popular lake area with a burgeoning summer population. Painting on a guitar piques my interest. Invitations to be part of this project were extended to 13 artists, probably limited by the number of guitars that were donated. For ease of painting, removable parts will be taken off the guitar before I pick it up. The theme for my guitar will be the historic “roller coaster,”  a much loved and well-known landmark in the lakes area. Boaters on the water hear the nearly constant rumble and swoosh of the roller coaster near the lakeshore during the summer. I chose an electric rather than acoustic guitar, thinking the extra curves and personality of that shape and would better reflect such a wild ride. And yes, I have had many rides on that roller coaster! The instruments are to remain functional after they are painted, and it would be fun to add another dimension by composing an original piece of music to be played on my guitar. Good idea, but unlikely, since I am more of a classical musician.

It would be interesting to mix these projects up a bit. If you ever hear of an offbeat musician performing a song about riding on a roller coaster, accompanying himself on a guitar with a roller coaster paintied on it, singing into a giant microphone – you’ll know what happened.