Painting Pool Balls in Spots and Stripes

Billiards anyone?

montage illustration of pool balls
Pool ball jumble

In high school, I learned to shoot pool, AKA billiards, thanks to Saints Hubert and Ellene Watson, our church youth leaders. They adopted me, so to speak, as an honored guest into their home when I was a teen.

Friday nights, Ellene would bake her famous chocolate cake with butter cream frosting and  Hube racked up the pool balls for a spirited game of pool.

I have no recollection of helping with dishes and I no doubt scratched the green felt on Hube’s pristine pool table. Nevertheless, they rolled out the red carpet for me, week after week.

On Cue music box by Enesco with mice playing pool: Karen Hahn designer
Mice shoot a game of pool in the vintage Enesco musical “On Cue” to the tune of “The Entertainer”: Enesco designer Karen Hahn

Pool balls with stripes and spots

Today, I have my own set of pool balls, displayed in a crystal bowl. They remind me of friendship. I love peering at the ivory balls, much like watching goldfish in a fish bowl.

Beautiful, ivory white balls, each numbered and splashed with bright stripes and spots, ready for a game.

Why not make a painting of pool balls?

You draw what you love. Unfortunately, drawing and painting pool balls for me has led to a stash of failed attempts.

sketch of shading to add dimension to a flat object
Darrell’s quick-sketch to show how shading gives dimension to a pool ball

Hubby Darrell had compassion on me and sketched a pool ball with shape in front of my eyes — in a nano second.

Choose a light source, he said. Add shading to give shape and dimension, he said.

Suddenly he transforms a circle into a pool ball.

For me, it does not. So, I continue to study the elusive pool ball.

Back to the Drawing Board

Hopelessly, I asked Darrell to photograph our pool balls, thinking I could draw from the photographs. He photographed each one, individually, with the same light source.

I made a montage illustration in Photoshop by masking and arranging balls to my liking, resizing some.

Undaunted with my failures at painting, I played around with the pool balls in my digital art programs to make a poster.

illustration of pool balls
Play Ball!
Digital Pool Balls Spin Around on My Computer
Pool ball photography
Montage of pool ball photography
Photography: pool ball montage