Painting experiments on cardboard

Some random painting practice in no particular order, trialling different surfaces to see how the paint reacts. Overall, I highly recommend painting on cardboard if you’ve never done it, it’s so much fun!

Trial 1

Old priority mail box I had lying around, no primer applied. I tried to be a little more “blendy” this time around, getting a smoother result using a mix of dry and wet brush applications. Still getting the hang of it. Random spherical subject with no reference, just started painting and let my mind wander.

Trial 2

“Pitcher in Picture (sad pun intended)”. I was mindful not to give into temptation to just paint people, because that’s what I love painting the most. I had a pitcher/jug thing in my room, and since painting still life is not my favourite task, I thought I would give it a quick go. The surface was a box I’d bought ages ago at Spotlight, very rough and absorbent cardboard. Had to use a bit more water to get the paint to move around enough in some places, but I noticed a good potential for blending. Dried very quickly.

Trial 3

Found I still had the box my iPad came in… 2 years ago. Apparently, I’m a bit of a hoarder. Ahem.

I chose a picture I had saved of Billie Holiday – there’s probably a connection with music there, since I primarily listen to music on my iPad, but it’s a thin connection heh. Primarily I just liked the pose and energy in the photo and thought it would be a good practice.

The smooth surface of the box REALLY emphasised all my brush strokes, great for a rougher, lively painting effect – loosening up the style a bit. NEEDS LITTLE TO NO WATER otherwise the paint basically slides around the surface without really sticking. Blending was difficult at first but I found with a dry brush I could get some interesting if rough blending happening.

Early stages of painting


I’d tweaked my palette a little by this stage, adding a little more red and that yellow ochre to the mix – unfortunately by this stage I was still using up the cheaper paint mix I’d created from days ago. Fortunately, the grey was more neutral now, though hard to tell in the warmer light.

Created a fantastic textured effect using a broad, dry brush coated with white paint, just dragging it in angles over the still-wet darker background. Overall, took a v e r y l o n g t i m e to dry (almost like working with oils), but the tones were very rich and contrasted unlike on some of the duller surfaces.