Everyday Matters Challenge – Draw a Collection

Everyday Matters, sketch, Watercolor | September 12, 2005 | By

Once upon a time I decided to collect copper molds as a decorative touch for my kitchen. I probably have a dozen and a half of them but these are a sample. I have used the fish once or twice for a salmon mousse, and I don’t think any have ever been used for green jello and Cool Whip. Many of the molds are various rounded and domed shapes but among the other interesting ones are a lobster. a nesting hen, a bunch of carrots, strawberries and a cat. Yes, a cat. That one sort of stops me in my tracks because I think if one is going to use a mold it should vaguely relate to the food served. Lobster terrine, chicken pate, carrot torte … cat ??? Shudder. Most of these molds were picked up for pennies at garage sales and flea markets from people, no doubt, who grew tired of polishing them or perhaps the recipes wore out their welcome at many a Thanksgiving or potluck supper. For me they are decor, little more.

I painted these on 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper, using three different ‘styles.’ The tarnished fish was painted very slowly and with as much detail as my primitive skills would allow. The chicken was painted more rapidly and loosely with more bright colors indicating reflections from other things in the room, and the rabbit (yes, that’s supposed to be a rabbit) was painted even looser still.

Larger image of just the fish

I suppose this could count for “draw something metal” as well, but I’d rather challenge myself to do something different for that one because it will give me another chance to try something new, to experiment and to grow. For me, it’s not about how many I do or how fast I check them off the list, it’s about the enjoyment of doing.


  1. Kris
    September 12, 2005

    I think the fish is amazing. They all are, but when the fish was loading i thought – why’d she put a photo :) When it fully loaded i realised you painted it…primitive your skills are most certainly not! i love it!
    You are great! I’ve been painting with watercolors for well over 14 years and my stuff STILL doesn’t look like that!
    You are blessed!

  2. Redondowriter
    September 12, 2005

    I, too, once collected copper molds and still have a few hanging over my island area on the big rectangular hanging thingy for pots, etc. I have the same exact fish mold. Good job, Karen!

  3. Karen
    September 12, 2005

    Thank you, Kris. That is very kind of you to say so. I am still trying to ‘get my groove back’ after a long hiatus from drawing and painting. The encouragement really helps.

  4. Nancy
    September 12, 2005

    Oh, well done! I do like the fish best, but all of them convey the gleam of metal so well. I’m planning on painting some brass things I have, but I’m nervous about it – you’ve given me a morale boost.

  5. Laura
    September 13, 2005

    What a nice grouping, Karen! What size paper did you use?

  6. Karen
    September 13, 2005

    Thanks, Laura. It’s a torn piece of paper approx. 7″ x 10″ … one half of a folded page 14 x 10.
    I have been painting a lot on loose pieces of paper like this. When I have enough I am going to sew them up into a book. So much easier than trying to paint in a book.

    It’s 5 am where you are. What are you doing up so early? For that matter, what am I doing up so late?

  7. Tommy Boy
    September 13, 2005

    Great images and I like the different styles/techniques. I always find myself drawing very tightly initially and usually create a intentional mistake to make myself loosen up and “draw outside the lines”. Like your blog…keep it up!

  8. Nita
    September 13, 2005

    The skill shown here is far from primitive. Capturing the color and reflective variations of copper is quite difficult and you’ve done it wonderfully!

  9. Teri
    September 13, 2005

    Karen, what a familiar sight from the past when everyone had to have these molds….so they could rarely use them.
    I love them all but the fish is my favorite. Thank you for always citing the material you use.


  10. Linda
    September 13, 2005

    Karen! I want a collection like this! These are great — the fish is wonderful, but for some reason I like the rabbit best.

  11. Karen
    September 13, 2005

    Thanks, all …
    I forgot to add the colors used in this, in case it is helpful to anyone …

    Burnt sienna, cad red light, Van Dyke Brown and Payne’s gray … a very small touch of sap green for tarnish here and there.

  12. nita
    September 13, 2005

    I really appreciate knowing the colors–just to see how combinations emerge. Thanks!

  13. Miyuki F.
    September 14, 2005

    Ooo, lovely warm burnished colours… These are great!

    I myself fancy some green jello in a lobster mould, but I see what you mean about a cat mould *lol*

    BTW, I didn’t realize you were updating this blog more than your LJ these days. Do you have any plans to create a syndicated LJ feed for this blog?

  14. Amy
    September 15, 2005

    I, too, think the fish is amazing, but that they are all expertly painted!
    Thanks for sharing your choice of palette as well. It helps to know these kinds of things.

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