Nfld. & Labrador

What are you at? This is it: Painting on piano keys

Artist Krista Van Nostrand has excellent eyesight and a steady hand, which is ideal, since her ivory canvases measure only 2 cm by 5 cm.

Krista Van Nostrand paints tiny watercolour landscapes on ivory piano keys

Painting on piano keys

6 years ago
Duration 1:22
Krista Van Nostrand of St. John's paints miniature watercolour landscapes on ivory piano keys.

Krista Van Nostrand has excellent eyesight and a steady hand, which is ideal, since her canvases measure only 2 cm by 5 cm.

"When I came up with the idea, I figured I'd better do it quickly before my eyes gave out," Van Nostrand quipped.

Van Nostrand uses very fine brushes, some only the width of several eyelashes, and a strong magnifying glass to paint detailed landscapes on ivory piano key surfaces, which measure about 2 cm by 5 cm.

One of Krista Van Nostrand's completed piano key landscape paintings, with coins for scale. (Courtesy Krista Van Nostrand)

When Van Nostrand was seven years old, she discovered a box of ivory piano keys in her grandparents' attic, and her grandfather let her have them.

"I took them home, I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but they were a treasure," she said.

Years later, Van Nostrand heard about the nineteenth century tradition of painting miniatures on ivory, and after some research, she has adapted the technique to her ivory piano keys. 

What are YOU at? Email us wam@cbc.ca and let us know. We'd love to do a feature on your interesting hobby.

You can hear What are you at? This is it, Saturdays on Weekend AM from 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. (5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. in most of Labrador) on CBC Radio One. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather Barrett is the host and producer of Weekend AM on CBC Radio One in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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