I’ve had a few days away from the Big Painting, partly because I have had other things to do and partly because I needed the paint to dry out a bit before I continued. That is a drawback of using oil paint, it does take a while to dry and sometimes it is necessary for painted areas to be slightly dry before more paint can be added.
This painting is the first one I have made in almost 5 years. It is also a bit of a departure for me in that it is essentially a Still Life, but at the same time it is also not intended to be a faithful or photo-realistic reproduction of a group of objects. It is intended to be illustrative and the shapes and patterns are by far the most important elements. The actual composition does not exist in reality and has been entirely ‘invented’ as have the patterns which form the backdrop. The only element which was drawn from ‘life’ are the mint leaves, but again they have been rendered in a style which is more suggestive of mint leaves than actual leaves. One of the biggest influences for this painting is my all-time Art hero, Henri Matisse together with Patrick Heron and Hundertwasser. (More about these in later postings).
underpainting for mint leaves
completed mint leaves
I did some work on the background patterns and while I was happy with some areas I was not happy with others. One of the good things about oil (and acrylic) painting is that you can “rub out” bits you don’t like but scraping back with a knife, and then simply painting over the area.
Addition of first patterns
Because the painting is so big – it measures 100cm X 120cm I am working on it from the top down. I have made the first stages of blocking in the background patterned areas and am now waiting for these to dry out a little before I continue to paint in the pattern designs.
Lower area blocking in
So far I am pleased with what I have achieved. Picking up paint brushes after such a long time has been more than a little daunting. I have been reading up about oil painting techniques in books and online, so hopefully by the time this first one is finished I shall be more comfortable with the medium. I am already getting ideas thick and fast for at least 3 more paintings of similar subject matter….exciting times!
The upper part of the painting so far