The Three Sisters

You made it to my first post! Well done you little smartie! Round of applause! Here’s a golden star!

Speaking of stars, I don’t know about you but I personally love astronomy…not that I know much of it because honestly, the only star constellation I know by memory is “the three sisters”. Many of you may know, but in case you don’t, “the three sisters” are three brightly shining stars perfectly aligned in a row as a small group.

the three sisters

As you can obviously see, “The Three Sisters” are the three bright glowing stars in the centre amongst the other constellations.

Image above:

You may be able to see the relevance these stars have to the artwork above by noticing the three hands. GOOD FOR YOU! And you’re right! But other than that, there’s no other connection… Sorry, I just wanted a cool title for this piece.

And while we’re currently having a really deep connection, I must add that there’s no real meaning behind this work. Again, sorry to disappoint…

But no need to be sad, just appreciate this odd piece as I show and tell you the process of how it all came together and my thoughts on it. (P.S: I’d love to hear yours too).


First of all, lets go through the materials:

  1. Black and white paint.
  2. A pencil and rubber.
  3. A thin panel of timber.
  4. Thin paint brushes for painting the edges of the hands and quite large (possibly even old) paint brushes or old medium to small sized wall painting paint brushes… It’s odd, I know.
  5. Sponges (I used triangular and square shaped ones).
  6. Paper/newspaper.
  7. Black inked outlining pen.
  8. Pallet for paint! (I used an ice-cream container lid).
  9. Cups of water.
  10. Lots.. and I mean LOTS of tissues!
  11. Music, because why not?

Possible methods?:

If you really must know, I learnt a lot of good and bad ways to create the old and torn look for the black background throughout this piece. Personally, I strongly believe I’m in no shape or position to give tips and advice because I’m not incredibly happy with this piece but I’d like to share my faults and wins.

To begin with I’ll quickly skim through some techniques that did not work what-so-ever: 

  • Caring too much – Within the first half of the duration of making this piece I was trying way too hard to perfect the shabby old look. Taking my time with small strokes and small amounts of paint. It wasn’t until later that I realised this did not look old and torn at all and looked far too artificial.
  • Not blending – I know what you’re thinking: “Is tHis CHicK oK?? yOU don’t need to blend in an old-looking painting where you’re not meant to care too much!” I know! I know! But to answer your question and statement 🙂 yes I am perfectly fantastic thank you and guess what? You do need to blend but you still don’t need to care! How? Simple! Do it messily. VERY messily. If you don’t, the look becomes unnatural. Below I’ll list where and how you need to blend.

And now this brings us to techniques that absolutely aided me in the most easy and effective way possible:

  • White undercoat – In order for the light black to be vibrant and stay the same colour as on my pallet a white undercoat was needed. One, because the brownness of the timber would clash with the light black. Three coats of the black would be needed in order to show the exact colour as on the pallet. By the time this would have been done, the ‘shabby’ look would have been impossible to achieve. Two and the most important reason, the one white undercoat gives depth to the painting. White and black goes far better than brown and black. After the black paint is rubbed back to show a small portion of the undercoat, white would be far more noticeable and effective than brown… Just my opinion.
  • Blending with a sponge – A mentioned earlier, blending is vital. When outlining the outside of the hands with black paint (assist in avoiding mixing the dark paint onto the white hands) to stop it being noticeable that you did so, blending with a sponge is a far easier option to work with than simply blending with paint and a brush. If you’re unskilled at painting like me than this option is the way to go! To blend, make sure the sponge is DAMP, not wet, and stroke towards the area of the dark paint. (If you have excess paint/water spread it across the white undercoat where black paint will soon be to give a darker and older effect, don’t let the excess mixture be too dark, however).
  • Long strokes with large brushes – At the beginning, when I was caring too much, I found myself using tiny brushes with tiny strokes, in an attempt to make it perfect. I can assure you now, DO NOT DO THIS! Why? Cause it just does. not. work. Use long strokes with large brushes in open spaces and attempt to do something similar in smaller areas with smaller brushes. Try to keep the motion consistent. Make sure some areas are darker and some are lighter than others, but know that it does not have to be symmetrical.


Anyway, in conclusion for today’s episode, I hope you enjoyed today’s entry. I promise not to write such a long entry again. And if I do… Slap me. Hope this inspires you in any way, shape or form. Just a disclaimer, this is my first time trying this ‘old and torn’ look with paint, mainly because I rarely have a piece of wood, paint brushes and the motivation to paint so if this is a terrible idea pls don’t resort to murder.

Just to inform you newcomers that I will post a few times a week. Aren’t you lucky this isn’t a daily thing?