Early portraits of 'Tasha & Nicholas

One of the great joys about being both father and artist is the opportunity to combine both roles. I have always used my family to experiment with new ideas (lucky them!), and these experiments have grown into an interesting series of silhouettes, which show both how my children have grown, as well as how my silhouetting has evolved. This constant experimentation is likely to continue as long as both family and art continue to be a joy for me (ie: always!).

The first pair of profiles represent an early style for me. Before I became quite so obsessed with nibbling little bits out of the hair, or cutting a single fly-away strand, and some three years before I felt confident enough to be a full-time silhouettist. They also represent some of my first attempts at gold embellishments.

Natasha (36K Gif) Nicholas (36K Gif)

Silhouettes of my children Natasha & Nicholas
I cut these in 1994 and lightly bronzed them with a gold crayon.
Natasha was 5 at the time, Nicholas was 3

Coloured silhouettes are really intended for special situations where the colour (say) of a uniform is particularly important. I can pick out details, such as braiding and medals, in tiny specks of colour. These are also the first silhouettes in which I experimented with glass mounting. This exciting idea adds greatly to the three dimensionality of the works.

The only problem is that they take AGES :-(

Nicholas (60K Gif) Tasha (59K Gif)

Coloured silhouettes of Nicholas & 'Tasha
Made in 1996 when Nicholas was 5 and 'Tasha 7

Tasha in Kimono(22k Jpeg)

A simple cutting of Tasha wearing a Japanese kimono to a festival, aged 8, in 1997. In some ways this kind of simple and immediate cutting is still my favourite kind of silhouette. When they work well they take on a llife of their own, it almost feels like I had nothing to do with it. I was just the hand holding the scissors!

Full length silhouettes were the next big challenge. These two are some of the first I ever cut. As is often the way with new beginnings, they were also more successful than many which followed. For once, the portrait of my son seemd to me to be particularly successful.

Nicholas (27k Jpeg) Nicholas (26k Jpeg)

Standing silhouettes of 'Tasha & Nicholas
These were cut-out, embellished with watercolour,
and glass mounted with collage elements
Made in 1997, 'Tasha was 8 and Nicholas 6

The next two profiles were made for the BBC mini-documentary "Tales of Tools" which was first shown in 1999 and again in 2000. I was in the episode about scissors! 'Tasha's silhouette was carefully photographed and shown, together with film of her standing holding the flower, in the closing sequences of the film. The filming was very cleverly done, and this was one part which everybody who saw it remembered.

Nicholas was rather over-awed by the cameras (as was I, come to think of it), and would do nothing but adopt this rather wooden, typically autistic pose. It isn't one of my best, but I've put it here anyway for the sake of symetry.

Nicholas (29k Jpeg) Nicholas (32k Jpeg)

Standing silhouettes of Nicholas & 'Tasha
Made for the BBC in early 1999,
Nicholas was nearly 8 and 'Tasha nearly 10

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©Charles Burns/www.roving-artist.com/The Edo Barn Site/silhouettes@me.com/This page was first created in September 1997 and last updated January 2007