Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sally after 60 and a half hours

So I am getting rather fed up with Sally now... she is boring me and I dropped my brush on the white background which is a sure sign I am not concentrating. I managed to save the paper with tissues and a bunch of swear words. It's always a nightmare that you mess something up at this stage!

Sally... almost done, still a lot of touching up to do.
She won't get any darker now, this is pretty much it.

Sally's placement on the sketchbook

Assignment 8 (Sally the Savoy): 8.63/10
Limited Edition Prints of the Grapes

So on Friday last week I went and collected my prints beofre spending the evening in the V&A and here they are on my bed! Andrew has done a really good job and is now scanning in my Californian Poppies and my Ginkgo biloba pen and inks. These prints are for sale, so let me know if you are interested. The edition is limited to 20 and 3 have already gone, so the race is on!

2011 Grapes (A3) Giclėe Print on acid free, heavy-weight, rag paper £85.00 each

Californian Poppies (A3) Giclėe Print on acid free, heavy-weight, rag paper £50.00 each

Ginkgo biloba (A3) Giclėe Print on acid free, heavy-weight, rag paper £50.00 each

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Sally after 46 hours...

I have had to resort to taking two days of holiday from work to finish her... Tuesday and Thursday and I had Wednesday off anyway, so I should get her done by then. Then I plan to go to the pub! So, a new phase of the work has just begun - a less frustrating one - I call this stage: 'perfecting', which is always done to trance. I usually require less breaks as well as it is very monotonous. By the way, I have purposely avoided the underside of the leaves, as I want to do these when I am fully awake and hydrated rather than after a day at work.

When I am 'perfecting' I use the tip of a tiny semi-dry brush and rub all the layers in together. This makes the painting look less like a painting and makes the surfaces smoother. It was an essential stage in painting '2011 Grapes'... and a lot easier. Sally's bumps are a small nightmare - as is this milking stool, which I have to get up from in 2 minutes before my legs go dead!

Below is an image without a flash. The problem in photographing my work is I need a flash to make it crisp for you guys, so you can blow it up. However, the flash makes it shiny, so then I optimise it and then the colour goes all odd. So I have put the picture below for you to see.

I hope you think it is going well. I have to say I am more satisfied with it now, but am starting to worry about the undersides of those leaves - I am not great with venation.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Sally after 40 hours...

I have been pushed to work by Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave today. I rarely listen to them these days, but their efforts to raise money for charity spurred me into action. My 10 hour painting marathon today seemed feeble compared to their World Record attempt at 52 hours of broadcasting non-stop. It's been hilarious...and they raised a lot of money for Red Nose Day, so its a well done to them.

With a day off work today I gave Sally my full attention with breaks here and there. I decided to sit on my milking stool today, as it brings me closer to the paper and stops round shoulders and bad posture. But it means I cannot feel my bottom now.

It's now 10pm and I want to stop. Here is Sally/Sylvia after a days work :) I have been adding more layers of paint and tried to do the leaf on the left. I just can't believe how long this is taking! I had no idea it would be this long... Still it is worth it. I think it is because I am having to use a dry brush because all the bumps are a maximum of 5mm long/wide and watery paint is too intense and not able to be controlled satisfactorily.

Sally on my bed - the colours are more true here... She was a very lurid green and not very purple which was unusual, but she was a 'baby' cabbage and juvenile.

I have just noticed - this is my first landscape watercolour as well :)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Sally after 30 hours...

So Sylvia hasn't started her contract at Inky Leaves yet as Sally has some life still in her. Painting after a days shift in the gallery today and it is never easy. I am just too tired, and I have also lost the flow a bit after leaving Sally alone all weekend. So, four hours of painting and little achieved it seems. Still it all adds up and means I may be doing less of an all-nighter at the end of the month when this is due for assessment. It's been a question of adding layers of paint really this evening, and marking out the back two leaves.

Work in the gallery again tomorrow, but I hope to squeeze in another four hours after dinner. Then I have two whole days off to dedicate to Sally and a reward on Friday night. Yes, you've guesed it - a nightime trip to the V&A with Henry! :)

P.S. Best way to watch Sally grow is to flick through the images here:

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

I have noticed that I have some readers who are looking at Inky Leaves from abroad. Not sure if it helps, but I have installed a Google Translator gadget to translate everything into any language you choose. I have had a go at looking at what my writing looks like in a variety of languages, and it looks rather fun!

Monday, 7 March 2011

Sally after 26 hours...

21 and a half hours...

Painting Sally in the sun today... slow progress if I am honest. I feel rather beaten by her complicatedness and I'd rather be laying lazily in the sunshine!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Trip to the V&A to see Beatrix Potter's Grapes

Above and below: Still life drawing of grapes and peaches October 1883 (Potter was roughly 17 years old).

So I visited the V&A last night - always worth a trip on a Friday night. They close at 10pm on Fridays and there is something really wonderful about getting lost in the rooms of a museum that size in the night, which I hasten to add - I did. I went with the intention of seeing Beatrix Potter's still life studies from when she was sent to art school at a young age. So after a cup of Lapsang Souchong in the 'Green Room', I trotted up to room 102.

Really fascinating little exhibition and she quite evidently did not suit the style in which they were instructing her, and yet she tried. You can see how much she is trying... and improving. I found this to be really encouraging. One has to keep practising. Below is an image of her grapes which she painted a year before - notice the difference?! (Apologies for the appalling image).

Still life drawing of grapes and peaches 1882 (Potter was roughly 15 -16 years old).

I had no idea but interestingly Beatrix Potter was quite a scientist... She wanted to become a mycologist (study of fungi) and her uncle tried to introduce her to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, but she wasn't accepted becuase she was a female. Later on, Potter was one of the first people to say that lichens were the result of a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungi. In 1897, her uncle presented her paper on fungi to the Linnean Society becuase women were barred from attending meetings. A hundred years later the Society issued a posthumous official apology to Potter for the way she had been treated. She also lectured at the London School of Economics several times and visited the V&A frequently as a child.

Picturing Plants: Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration

Rudolf Koch (1876-1934)

So, after being inspired by Potter's grapes I then got lost in the galleries. After skipping through jewellery, miniatures, tapestries and a series of Constable paintings, I came across a temporary exhibition on botanical illustration. I found it most interesting - nice collection of works on show from all the ages using a wide range of media. I really liked these foxgloves. I like the simplest illustrations - they are always the best and the most useful for scientists. I also appreciate how hard it is to be simple when depicting something accurately. Nice work there Rudolf!

So I am up to the Lake District on Thursday night with Henry. He has been very generous and wants to whisk me up north on a romantic get-away - I can't wait! I wonder if I'll bump into Peter Rabbit while I am up in Windermere ?

I found this blog, or rather this blog found me

This is a wonderful blog by Kim Tillyer which I wanted to share with you. Kim has been rather lovely in promoting my work. Her own creations are really inspiring. They make me want to carry on working on projects behind the scenes (some days I feel it is rather indulgent to work on some embroidery when I 'should' be painting). Her work is really pretty and intricate and some of it is for sale.
Kim's blog helps one to appreciate how fabulous it is to indulge in one's creativity!

Friday, 4 March 2011

After 17 hours...

Can't focus today... too tired and I need a break from all the bumps in the leaves. I have two more hours to work on this today and then I am off to the East of London to proof my prints of 2011 Grapes. Got... to... keeeep... painting....

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Sally's Wilting!

Great... so it's that time in the process when I wished I worked a little harder and faster, because Sally is starting to wilt. The fridge has kept her going surprisingly long, so I am working in haste to get as many washes in place before she gives her leaves up to the ether.

Sally after 14 hours

I have been rather ill this week with some sort of tummy upset which put me out of action a bit. I think I have discovered that I am allergic to oysters, so it wasn't all in vain. I like making discoveries about myself. However, my gut is still not right and I have to get this thing completed.

If I stare at her long enough, she'll enter a memory bank of sorts, which is what I often work from, along with photographs in the end. But I like to work from the fresh material for at least a couple of weeks at the start so I can soak up the essence of her being. I have to admit, I am quite shocked at how sensual this subject is. The way the leaves curl at the edges is quite remarkable and I am finding it rather off putting and intimidating. Sally is certainly a seductive cabbage! (Apologies if I have offended anyone, but I felt it had to be said).

Propping droopy Sally up with matches