Mom's Garden Trowel - Oil - by John Morfis

Mom’s Garden Trowel (oil painting)

Mom's Garden Trowel - Oil - by John Morfis

When I choose old tools to create paintings from I typically work from really old antiques. They are usually made of metal and wood and as a result lack much color.


This shovel, while certainly not the oldest, is not a shiny new object by any means. It is solid metal and has a rubber sheath that covers the handle. This added a nice touch of green to the garden trowel. I was happy to work with some more saturated colors for once. Because of the antique woods and metals I typically paint from, my palette has definitely gotten narrower over the past several years. So narrow that sometimes I only have neutrals and browns on my palette! This bright green handle opened up my palette somewhat.


This little garden trowel belongs to my mother. She uses in and around the flower garden she has around my parent’s patio. Whenever I visit my parents I would always see the green handle of this shovel sticking up out of the ground. After a while I started thinking that maybe I wanted to try painting the little shovel. It does have an interesting form and it is a meaningful family tool. I didn’t even clean it up too much. If you look closely towards the bottom half of the shovel you can see some dirt still sticking to the metal. The dirt created an opportunity to add some warmer browns on top of the mostly neutral-hued metal.


Well, I finally did! After a few days work, laying down color and making my corrections in paint I had completed a painting of my mom’s very own garden trowel! I’ve painted many tools belonging to family members over the years, but this was the first item I painted that belongs to my mother.


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