Dresden Doll : : Don Whyte’s Off-Cuts Show

odi et amo detail

Details of a painting I’m throwing together for Don Whyte’s Off Cuts Show.

“Dresden Doll” (acrylic and retarder on canvas). She’s named after Dresden porcelain, by the way, not the band. Dresden porcelain often featured oriental designs painted in cobalt; one distinguishing feature for collectors these days is that “the cobalt blue mark is always underneath the glaze”. Her entire body was blocked in cobalt blue, covered over in skin tones, and then scratched through to reveal the designs…it’s called s’graffito and I wrote a post about doing it in acrylics, here.

odi et amo detail

Her tats are rather pale, but it’s too late to fix that now without overworking the thing. She’s already pretty heavily worked as it is, which is not a good feeling…so important to try and finish the piece while there is still a connection between yourself and the subject, while it’s all still interesting and challenging. I’m so over this figure by now (even though I only started it yesterday) that I just want to get the damn background—which is a mess—sorted out so I can leave it. I’ve got another two canvases to do for the show, deadline’s the 9th of April.

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Don Whyte’s Off-Cuts Show is up in less than three weeks. Don Whyte is Darwin’s prime framing business, and every year he uses up the small off-cut pieces of canvas stretcher bars from his trade to make a couple hundred small square stretched canvases (average size is one foot, 30 cm., square). Local folks are invited to drop in and grab as many canvases as they think they can finish, turn them in before the deadline, and they all get exhibited and sold on the night of Don’s Off-Cuts Show.

Amazingly, for a venue that isn’t even a gallery, this gathering has become Darwin’s most widely-attended, most dynamic, and most thoroughly-cleaned-out art exhibition. The large room is jam-packed with people on opening night—everyone brings something lovely to eat, the bar is run on donations (because Don hasn’t got a license to sell alcohol)—and there isn’t a single painting left unsold by the end of the evening. Prices range from $40 to $250, the artist can choose to donate the entire painting’s sell price to Don, or split the take according to some sort of percentage. All the money Don gets from the show goes to charity.


9 thoughts on “Dresden Doll : : Don Whyte’s Off-Cuts Show

  1. I absolutely LOVE the s’graffito effect on her body. It would’ve never occurred to me to do that on a subject’s body! How wonderfully inspiring. Good luck at the exhibition. I’ll spread the word to my Darwin friends.


  2. Your blog is food for my soul, Nat. It is the perfect site to visit after a long day’s work. It is a wonderful feeling to end the day inspired by who you are and the art that you provide. 🙂


    1. Wow, Tif, so honoured by your visit and your approval! It’s such a reward when my real friends (as in, meatspace friends 😉 ) drop in to read something…there’s a stronger sense of connection, and it all feels so much more worthwhile doing. Happy to have cheered a friend up, and to have found your blog, as well!


  3. Your painting is so beautiful. I love it. Sorry to hear that your “over it” because it really is very inspiring. I also love the sound of this exhibition. It sounds wonderful. Wish I could be a fly on the wall!


    1. Hi, Roweeee, Heh heh, not over the painting, but tired of fiddling with it…at what point is a painting done? Sometimes you know something’s not right, but can’t see what’s making it wrong. Then comes the fussing and the hundred little ‘improvements’ that rarely improve the work, just make it look over-worked and old. A painting loses its freshness with every ‘fix’. So I meant I am over trying to figure out what is wrong, and fiddling or tweaking the image.


  4. I love this piece! The technique you used of blocking her out in cobalt blue, going over it in skin tone and then scratching off the tattoo designs is such a great idea. Thanks for sharing 🙂


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