Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Maverick Virus

Detail on the Indian Bean Tree (Catalpa bignonioidesleaf 
Everything appears to be magnified at the moment - the heat, my artwork, the number of mosquitoes and my illness are the first things that come to mind... That bug ended up being something of a maverick virus. Not quite as bad as a full blown flu, but certainly not as meek as a cold. It certainly had laid me up in bed for 10 days, shivering, coughing and aching all over. Every little ailment was magnified. I am now thankfully up and running as the rest of the household come down with it, but I still feel pretty disorientated and drained. 

It feels good to have come down with a proper bug though, some ailment that isn't psychology based and is really the result of an infestation (I never generally call viruses an 'infection'). You are probably wondering how this could possibly be a good thing and the answer for me is straight forward in that it reminds me of my mortality, which in turn helps me to focus my goals whilst also shutting out the trivia that I really don't have the energy to deal with. It is a grounding experience and makes one stop and learn to be more alert and self aware. So after practising three days of sleep and ten days of self awareness in my bedroom I feel pretty good mentally. Just wish I felt as good physically!

Bad picture, as usual... too hot to care. This is how big the Indian Bean Tree (Catalpa bignonioidesleaf will be.
So as the heat rages on (41 again today I believe) I am sat under my hot spot lights painting. This is what I am currently working on... I have a ton load of commissions to be getting on with, but after weeks of not being at the easel I am cautious in starting any of this work without a practice run up to get me back to speed. This is a side line project, which yes, means I have two on the go this year (black backgrounds and big leaves). I am trying to look at the different textures of leaves and really get to know them. I am building a collection of BIG LEAVES, most of which are supersized, but were pretty big to begin with. I am finding the chocolate incredibly challenging as it is very silky and bright green, which is a colour I have always had trouble with. I have another five leaves to sketch out and join in to make the collection. The black background work will continue once I have mastered new materials, so this project is currently on a back burner for this year.

Big chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao) leaf - completely different texture and set of greens yet again...

The chocolate tree (Theobroma cacao) leaf - sense of scale


  1. Hope you bounce back quickly Jess. That cocoa leaf is looking gorgeous already, can't wait to see it finished.

    Regarding the hot spotlights, have you considered LED spots? I find a mix of warm and cool LED spots gives the right colour temperature, and very little heat given off.

  2. Thanks Polly. I reckon I am probably over doing things a bit as I feel dreadful today and feel like I have taken a few steps backwards, but I simply can't sit in bed and do nothing. LED lighting would be fabulous. Are they expensive...? I might go and have a look now as after another day under these lamps I feel as cooked as Shepherd's Pie.