Painting with Fresh Breath

I’ve only ever managed to keep one New Year’s Resolution for an entire year. In 2014, after a less-than-enjoyable encounter with my dentist, I vowed that I would floss my teeth every evening. And I did. 365 days straight and counting…

The following painting has no intentional connection to my floss-at-all-costs experience, except to serve as a useful reminder that small changes to regular habits can really make a difference in achieving a goal (completing a painting) or avoiding a world of pain (dodging root canals).

Here’s a recap (pun not intended) of where we were at the last time I blogged about this painting:

The biggest leap forward to pulling this painting together would have to have been adding the tiles to the background. They had to be subtle enough to stay in the background and not to compete with the objects on the bench top, so I had some ‘fun’ mixing up matching, but low-contrast shades of grey-brown.


This progressed the painting enough to really motivate me. I had been putting off attacking the toothbrushes because they’re small and fiddly and required lots of effort for not a lot of surface area. A bit like flossing teeth, really.


As with most things I procrastinate over, I only needed to get started and I was up for more. Though this has never been the case with flossing.

Sitting back to evaluate things at this point, I realised I’d arrived at another sticking point: The pot plant. As much as I’d had fun with my initial loose brush stroke treatment, it was now beginning to look at odds with the rest of the painting. So I resigned myself to mixing more paint and tightened it up a little. And here’s the end result!


I really don’t aspire towards being one of those photo-realistic painters (that could be about as painful as the root canals I am trying to avoid!), so I tried to keep things loose where I could. The toothpaste tube is probably the best example of this, and saved me the headache of painting lettering upside down and back-to-front.

My all-time favourite aspect of this painting would have to be the spatters of toothpaste against the wall and on the bench top. They lend the painting something of that sense of The Ordinary that I’m after. Because if I had a buck for every time I wiped toothpaste off our bathroom wall, I’d have enough to pay for all the dental surgery that ever comes my way.

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