Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Last One

After all the mathematical shenanigans of the the last post A Sense of Proportion, it's time for a little pause and to reflect on the finished task. Yes, I have finally finished The Green Belt. As always, the last minute details and general 'tidying up' of edges and sharpening of shadows seem to take forever, and although there are a couple of areas I would have liked to improve, I am pleased to have got it finished, and I do think it is a more pleasing piece than the original. Along with the five other pieces that I am currently getting framed, this will be the portfolio of work I will use for my submission package for the SBA exhibition this year. The next job will be to get everything framed, packed up and securely to London in time for the submission day on the 17th March. To give you the full  picture, here's the before and after. You can decide which one you like best.

After
What a difference a year and a whole heap of confidence makes.
here, I centralised the whole piece, turned it portrait
and focused attention on fewer elements.


Before
A little too much of each plant gave a muddled direction to the composition.
Although it was well received, this was the piece I was least happy with.

The yellow Tutsan was an area I wasn't too happy with, although I love the berries. 

As always, I started this piece by tracing the elements of the composition that I wanted to keep. Luckily, I had all the drawings and reference material from the original composition and the tracings I used. By cutting out the pieces I wanted, I could move them all around on a piece of paper to get the basic composition how I wanted it, adding bits here and there to get it right. As this was not going to need any dissections, I left out the berries, rose hips and seeds, focusing instead on the main stems and flowers.  

After moving all the drawings around, a tracing is made.
The Rotring pen got a bit stressed.
Fine details such as leaf serrations and thorns are added later.    

Keeping one stem of the Cranesbill, but adding lots of buds, blooms and a seed head gave all the information needed to identify this delicate subject. A similar treatment was given to the other flowering subjects, with lots of buds and backs of flowers included. Moving the tall stems of the grass to the opposite side of the piece gave some height and delicacy to give a better balance against the linear Cranesbill.


Winsor Violet and Cobalt were among the colours used in the mixes
for the delicate Cranesbill flowers.

The abundant buds are a fundamental piece of this subject.

The bramble wasn't really a dominant force in the original and certainly if you have ever been out walking in woodlands, you'll know that brambles are everywhere. For the new piece, I decided to give the bramble prime position in the centre, with all the other subjects in amongst its stems and leaves. Lots of lacy holes and nibbled edges not only gave a more natural appearance but gave a less hard edge to the finish of the leaves. Adding a small pigeon feather as if caught on the thorn gave some idea of their sharpness. Plus, I love adding these sorts of little extras. A bit of fun.

The original photos came in handy. Keeping a collection of reference photos means a subject doesn't have to be in season for a painting.











For the Bittersweet, I decided to keep most of the elements as they were, only taking out the bottom stem to keep a nice linear line at the stem termination point at the bottom. All of the stems end in the same place with only the grass leaf and rose leaves falling below this point. With the dog rose, I had hoped to place in another rose bud to make three elements, but felt it would have looked a little awkward, plus time was pressing. More shadow colours were used on the open rose than before, so the petals have a more wrinkly appearance, which I quite like.

Well, that's all finished, so several cups of tea and a large bag of chocolate buttons later, the feeling of 'Empty Easel Syndrome' has yet to subside and I really do already miss having something to work on. At this stage, it is incredibly tempting to take 'just one last peek' to see if there is any more that can be done. It's a bit like being in an exam and being told you have five more minutes. Lucky for me there is the next sketchbook in the Nature Trail to grab my attention away from such jiggery-pokery, so with ideas aplenty, it's time for some little sketches and colour charts.


1 comment:

Janene said...

Jarnie, You did a brilliant job of re-purposing your original painting! I didn't realize that you were using your old drawings to make a new work. It turned out beautifully! Thanks for explaining each step and your rationale. I am sure that this will get accolades at the exhibition. It is charming!