I painted this red onion in around March 2010 and it remains one of my favourites. Another example of a painting that turned out better than I expected it to.
Tag Archives: Lipstick
You know how it happens. You’re sitting there, bored, there are lipsticks, there’s nice shiny cardboard your husband uses to make his architectural models and one thing leads to another. At the time I was taking a sabbatical to work on my PhD thesis – of course I did nothing – and when my husband left the country to look for work in London, I was at something of a loose end. Hence the lipstick.
The first paintings were of apples and roses. Then I graduated to peppers and chillies, and I stuck to these subjects for years. For a long time, I barely painted at all. It’s only in the past year that I have started to paint again, with the proverbial apples (I love painting apples) but also pomegranates, onions and dead roses. I’ve also begun to experiment with mixed media, combining lipstick with marker.
This painting was inspired by a buffalo skull hanging on the garage wall of my family’s bush lodge. It’s not about death, though at first glance that might seem to be the case – it’s more about enjoying the sculptural quality of the skull and its contrast with the medium. I drew the skull in marker before adding in the lipstick, then writing in it and scoring it with a plastic fork for added texture. The text refers to the scientific name of the Cape Buffalo, Syncerus caffer, and the history of the species in colonial South Africa.
I waited for this rose to start going brown and brittle before tackling it. The risk with using lipstick is the potential for kitsch. Lipstick, of course, is associated with beauty, as are roses, so there’s a certain irony here – the rose rendered at the point at which it would have been thrown away.
I won a prize in a green art competition sponsored by one of our clients for this painting – the painting is on recycled mount board, and I use a mixture of new and used lipstick donated to me.
I’ve been painting with lipstick since 2002. I started with roses, peppers and apples (which are always titled either “Adam” or “Eve” for fairly obvious reasons); since then I’ve experimented with abstract as well as skulls and mixed media. The painting in the picture dates from 2010.