Thursday, 9 January 2014

New Painting from Old

After much procrastination I have finally started a new piece. With so many ideas, I found it hard to settle on a subject, (as is so oft the way) and in the end went back to a piece I had previously completed but was unhappy with. Re-working the hedgerow assignment from last year is something I had been planning to do and now seems like the perfect time to do it. With so many other areas of my life undergoing something of an early spring clean, reflection and readjustment, it also feels like a new and exciting chapter is just beginning.

The original hedgerow assignment
On reflection, this one looks a bit busy with far too much going on

The original assignment called for five subjects to be painted from one habitat such as seashore, woodland, wetland and meadows. For this one I chose the woodland margin hedgerow near my childhood home in Essex. Epping Forest is not the large expanse of ancient woodland that it once was, but The Corporation of London owns and protects the last fragments around around the London / Essex border as Green Belt. After a fruitful search, I settled on a selection including bittersweet, bramble, tutsan, cranesbill and dog rose along with a little habitat of grasses and a couple of dissections. The final piece, worked in landscape format looked busy and tangled, much like the hedgerow itself and although I got a good mark for it, I was unhappy with the feel and composition of the painting.

For the new piece, I have changed the composition completely. By a stroke of genius, my good friend Shevaun recently highlighted Katherine Tyrrell's superb resource on composition, (Making a Mark) on her blog. Following Shevaun's example, I bookmarked the resource page and read with interest. Katherine is always very generous in sharing her knowledge and research with her readers and her blog has been so influential in my work, it's always worth a visit.

After consideration, I pared down the subjects and included only four of the original plants. The rose, bittersweet, cranesbill and bramble have all survived as have the grasses, but alas the tutsan was for the chop. With the mix of blues, purples and delicate pinks, the yellow of the tutsan flowers looked a bit buttery, (and I hate painting yellow flowers) and the large, fleshy leaves a bit too heavy. The original also had a couple of bugs in it but I have yet to decide if I will include them on this one. Changing the format to portrait to lighten the feel and match with the other hedgerow painting completed in the winter, I hope to have a pair that will sit well together. Of course, I am up against a deadline as I really hope to have this one ready for my SBA submission. Nothing like an incentive to fuel the creative juices.

The drawing is traced over using a 0.25 Rotring pen. 
Always better to have a pair 

As always, I started with a master drawing on tracing film for use on the lightbox. The film I use is actually for architectural and graphic drawings but is a lot cheaper than the stuff I used professionally. The film takes pen really well and gives a crisper edge than many tracing papers I have tried. The precious roll I have was given to me some years ago by my lovely brother but luckily a similar product is available at the London Graphic Centre. Working with a tracing on the lightbox means I can get away with very light pencil marks on the watercolour paper and minimal rubbing out, but also have a complete image should anything go horribly wrong. Fine details such as leaf serrations are drawn out onto the design once traced. 

At this point I must also thank a really good friend for giving me the initial idea.    


shevaun said...

What a fantastic start! Katherine's resource site is fantastic, isn't it!! I'm smiling because I spy the bramble in there. Isn't it funny how some plants capture our imaginations and keep reappearing! I'm looking forward to seeing this develop. It will look super beside your winter hedgerow plants. Well done!

Janene said...

Great idea to build on what you've already done and to create a series--I look forward to seeing the next steps in the process.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Shevaun, it's a mixed one again but I quite like it. Yes, brambles again, but a hedgerow has to have them. :) x

Hi Janene.
After lots of pondering and head scratching, the answer was right in front of me.:)


beautiful page jarnieg ...always have a pair ...enjoy the sketchbook challenge

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Jane, I know this is going to be so much fun.