Art Disasters and How to Survive Them

The Bic biro has been a good friend to me. We’ve been working together for a couple of years now, and I’ve never been let down. I’ve tried a multitude of other, fancier, pens. These pretenders promised better looks, upmarket specifications, and generally bigger and better things. However, none came close to the reliability, consistency and cost effectiveness of the Bic. In short, I’ve formed a bit of a special relationship with these wonderful pens. Sounds odd, I know, but there it is.

However, I’ve just had my first complete Bic failure.

It all started so well. The first biro work was of the wonderful, ridiculously small, pygmy owl. It was looking good, I was really enjoying using biro again and after the first day, I was well over half way. The following morning, I was full of optimism and excitement to get back to it. When I started though, it quickly became obvious that the pen was now showing as a completely different colour! The work I’d done the day before had a brown tint and the work I was doing now was blueish. I had come across this once before, but the difference was barely noticeable and actually worked well with the composition.

The difference this time was huge.

Don’t panic, I thought. Finish it off and you can then go back over the biro with a wash of diluted white oil paint, which should unify the colour.

This was the final outcome after doing just that. The photo was taken immediately after finishing.

If you look closely you can see a subtle difference in colour between the work in the bottom right and the rest of the piece. However, I thought, this would be easily fixed after everything was dry.

So, the next morning, I was again hopeful. When I looked at the piece though, most of it had turned a horrid, dirty, yellow colour. Yellow!?!?? Where did that come from?!

I can only think that the oil paint had reacted with the biro in the first place as it dried, changing the nature of the ink, turning it the brownish colour I saw on the second day. When I then added extra oil paint, with white spirit, it changed it all again, turning it into an awful yellow mush. A total failure. I’ll just have to work on chalking it up to experience and starting all over again.

To be fair, it wasn’t really the fault of Bic. It’s just that I now know the biro, and its ways, better than I did before.

In short, we’re still friends.

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