Yesterday I started a new painting! It's so exciting when starting a new piece of work, especially on new paper. On my last trip to Atlantis I tried to get some large paper - same size as the one used for the Green Giant, only heavier. Sadly, this type of paper doesn't exist. Stuck with what felt like a massive compromise, I opted for the heavier paper at the smaller size. This decision was helped by the fact that Atlantis had run out of the paper I used for the Coffee plant.
So why did I want to go heavier? Well, I wanted the 425gsm because despite stretching the paper for the Coffee Plant, the paper still cockled. This disappointed me as the paper was 300gsm, so not exactly lightweight, plus it was a pain to stretch (size). The other reason I decided to go heavier was not long ago I met up with Masumi Yamanaka in the herbarium at Kew to see her latest paintings of Kew's heritage trees. They were truly amazing. Masumi is one of my favourite artists, she has such a delicate touch and arranges her plant portraits very elegantly on the page. Currently she is being kept very busy with two large projects. When I met up with her I very was impressed with the speed in which she works. When I was shown the work she'd already done I was amazed, not only by the quality of the work, but also by the fact that the paper was wooshed out of her folio without much in the way of protection. Great heavy things they were, with no board or a plastic wallet in sight. I guess when one paints that regularly at that volume you'd probably get less precious about the paintings.
|Masumi demonstrating at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art|
I noticed that Masumi hadn't stretched her paper - it was just really thick Saunders Waterford - thicker than what I had used previously. I guess it's essential for her to be able to transport her work from one studio to another and the last thing she'd need is to carry an A1 piece of board. She also needs to swap the paintings she is working on as different species come into fruit and flower.
So... after all this I thought I'd give it a go myself and sacrificed size for weight.
The good news is I have chosen to paint Cosmo on this piece of weighty paper. Cos 'coz he was littered with beautiful colours! He's being painted as a super-sized Cos Lettuce... 560mm x 760mm, when really he is only a 'little gem'. I wanted to paint so many other things, but for some reason the paper lent itself to this specimen more than anything else I had in mind.
And so, with this little lettuce, the journey the begins...