Giclee Print on Mounted Canvas
Edition of 300 S/N
Image: 9″ x 13″
I guess I’m showing my age, but the high tech, flashy and noisy toys of today hold no interest for me. I prefer things that are hand-made and lovingly painted and are perhaps even one of a kind. Because I am a pack rat, I have collected all kinds of antiques that find their way into my paintings. Recently I have gotten interested in antique board games and toys, especially tin, cast iron, or wooden toys, and have used several in my recent work.
When handling or looking at an old toy I can’t help wondering who made it, who played with it, where it has been, and how it survived for so many years, perhaps in an attic someplace (much like “Lucky Birdie,” a game I used in another painting, which I actually found in an old attic), or in an old trunk or a closet.
Many of the old toys that have survived from an earlier time were educational in nature. A set of blocks like the one pictured here was often used to teach the alphabet to young children. Usually each block had a letter of the alphabet on one side, and an illustration on another, possibly a numeral on another, and part of a larger illustration (in this case a flag, when properly assembled) on another side. I have seen sets with the completed image being a clown, a soldier, and a horse. I am sure that there are others.
I am always looking for subject matter that will be perfect for trompe l’oeil paintings, which, to me, are the most fun to paint. The weathered wood, cracked paint and the possibility of having one or several blocks “sticking out” just a bit in the finished piece are all classic elements in “fool the eye” painting, and this box of blocks just cried out to be painted and shared, as I’ve done here.