Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The DYAO Painted Violin, er...Mandolin!

Copyright Tom Sarmo 2016

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Vanishing Violin

This year I was again asked to paint a violin for the Denver Young Artists Orchestra. I enthusiastically accepted; the Denver Young Artists Orchestra is a favorite. It's a group of young musicians auditioned from all over the Colorado Front Range, and the music they make is astounding! I'd painted a violin for their 10th Annual fundraiser, and it was a blast! See it here:
My first Painted Violin

A week or so later, I was given this gorgeous mandolin, instead of a violin, to paint.  It had once belonged to the mother of a musician in the Colorado Symphony, and he generously donated it to the DYAO's Painted Violin.

Dating from about 1918, the mandolin was damaged, but still gorgeous!

I'm a sucker for the character of beautiful old wood--and for craftsmanship. And it about killed me trying to save both the patina of the wood and the decal on the front of the mandolin. I traced it, designed and re-designed it, pestered other artists for advice, and finally realized that sadly, the front had to be covered up.
A coating of Kilz, and then a coating of red acrylic followed. The design was drawn with a fine brush and black acrylic. I was able to save the decorative circle and edge.

A progress shot...

...and a detail of the illustration. I chose a Sherlock Holmes theme because it had somehow become the Year of Sherlock for me; I was in the midst of reading some, and was painting a large Holmes piece for another show.
Click on the link for more info about this mandolin:
And check out all the cool Painted Violins here:
Don't forget to visit the site of DYAO for information about all their sweet concerts and their worthy mission:

Thanks for your visit, and for your support of all of the arts!


  1. I love that you were able to preserve the beautiful trim on your "violin," and the Sherlock theme is wonderful. What a great fundraising idea!

    1. Thanks, Kathleen :) It is a great organization, and I've loved helping in my way.


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