Miss Umpleby’s art challenge

The ‘artwork’ is a recoloured photo image of  a giraffe – put (quite crudely!) on a simple canvas. 

The picture is certainly not to everyone’s taste, and it is the only thing I have like it in my home – but it is absolutely one of my favourites.  I love it because every time I walk past it in the conservatory, it makes me smile. It doesn’t matter if I’m having a bad day or if it’s raining outside, the bright colours and the expression on the giraffe’s face always make things seem a little brighter. 

As a family, we’ve always liked giraffes – my mum had two giant wooden sculptures of them that sat next to her television for years, and my sister has asked me to include a giraffe on the cake I’ll make for my niece’s christening.  Just one of those family quirks!

Although it is an inexpensive piece of art, Geoffry, as he’s become affectionately known,  was bought for me by my mum at a difficult point in my life – he was hung on the wall of my first home and, even though he is looking a little ragged around the edges, has hung everywhere I’ve lived ever since. It reminds me that, no matter how dull things are some days, there is always something to smile about.  


Real life giraffes do not come in these colours. The artist has recoloured the animal in a surprising way in order to provoke a response from the viewer. When beginning a new piece of observational art, the artist can choose one of two paths – to represent the subject exactly as it is (portraiture or photo realism) or to change it completely like in abstract or surreal art. The giraffe picture is closer to what’s known as pop art. Find a colouring sheet online or in a book (or draw something yourself) and colour it in – wrongly. Use bright colours, opposite colours or just shades of the same one colour and notice how the colouring makes you and your family respond.