Back in March I replied to a shout out from SSOSVA member Deeds about a paint jam in his home town of Kidderminster. Any excuse to visit my old man and paint something for myself instead of for someone else!

Of course, after I’d signed up, I had a total creative block. Until I remembered about a book of birds I’d bought a few years ago filled with some gorgeous illustrations, and a passing thought of how it would be nice to bring nature back to the urban environment with street art. I went for it, and started scanning in these relatively small pictures at ridiculously high resolution (3600dpi).

It was a tricky process finding pictures which I liked and would work as stencils. They also needed fit nicely onto the canvas I was given, a 5′ x 10’4″ arched doorway of the old town courts. But that was nowhere near as tricky as actually producing the stencils which would be the biggest I’d worked with; the magpie was 7ft tall! But I set to work with a projector, a Sharpie, some large sheets of cardboard from various Ikea flat-pack items and a craft knife. I don’t know if other stencil artists class it as ‘cheating’ to have different colours and blends in the same layer of a stencil?

Similarly, I don’t really care..! I managed these with a silhouette layer and 2 detail layers.

I should probably give a shout out to AlFreshCo for being a great spraypaint supplier! I decided to paint these with Montana Gold due to their all-round awesome colour range, but specifically some really nice transparents which I would use on the magpie’s tail.


I packed the art case and stencils into the car then set off to Kidderminster on the Friday afternoon. Turns out I had enough time to swing by the venue to give Deeds a hand painting the boards and finish preparing everything.

After a weather warning from the organisers, I decided to crack on as planned. They had organised 5 cans of Kobra paint for all the artists, so I selected different shades of blue for the background so I could get a really nice gradient. This went on like an absolute dream with the use of a Calligraphy cap painting a really tall, thin line (ended up sharing them with some of the other artists, we will all be using these from now on!)

It was great to meet all the photographers who were interested in the artwork, and ended up lending a hand when my stencils wanted to fly away in the wind. Specific shout out to Harry Bristol for the photos below and James Furnival showing some love on Instagram.

The magpie’s tail was the last thing to be painted, starting with a layer of chrome and then transparent colours over the top to let the metallic effect shine through. Nobody mentioned that the transparent effect is an absolute nightmare to get right, especially getting an even coverage. While I thought I was happy with it on Saturday night, by Sunday morning I wasn’t! Still, it gave me a reason to go back and paint and my Nanna could see me at work. It went on loads better painting ‘with the grain’ of the pattern, and finished it off with a couple of layers of Montana Glitter to make it sparkle in the sun.

While I’m pleased with the finished piece, I think the highlight of any paint jam is (or certainly should be) meeting the other artists involved, especially if you’ve only ever seen their work online before. Love you all!