Sunday, 24 May 2009

Glad This One Is Over!

Perhaps some of you were wondering about the lack of artwork on here lately? It's not just because I can't display the potato illustrations I have been doing, but also because the above painting has been such a sod to produce. Sometimes the creative process is described like giving birth - if that's the case, then this was a 12 lb baby, born breech and with the cord round it's neck and wearing a hat of thorns!

The problems started when I had just about finished painstakingly painting all the stripes on the main zebra - about a week's work. I decided I didn't like the line of trees I had painted in the background and tried to lift them out with water and a paintbrush. Unfortunately, the paper I had used (The Langton Extra Smooth) doesn't like having paint removed and clings on to it for dear life - the trees remained. So then I had the bright idea of using some bleach, diluted just a little bit, which I put in a small ceramic pot. (Can you see where this is going? It's excrutiating and I cannot believe my own stupidity!) I painted this solution over the trees carefully, but nothing changed, they were still there, dark as ever, and I leaned back to have a better look......knocking the bleach all over the painting, zebra and all. Luckily I always have a wadge of tissue on my desk and mopped up the mess as quick as I could and then walked away in despair, not wanting to see the destruction I had caused!

So, a couple of hours later I went back to see what I'd done now that it was all dry - there were several splashes on the zebra that had removed the paint but nothing like as terrible as I'd imagined. But the trees were still there.

Two days later and in a better state of mind I came back, patched up the zebra and tried to paint over the trees with some white gouache. Failure. Tried to paint over them with white acrylic.....three coats later and the damn trees were still showing through, mocking me. By this time the sky was also looking patchy and there was a horrible white line at the top of the trees. Tried to re-paint the sky with blue acrylic....got the colour too dark and it looked awful. And you could still see the faint outline of the trees. Painted over with a paler blue acrylic.....still too dark. Painted over with yet paler acrylic - trees disappeared but now the paint was so thick it made a ridge on the horizon. Walked away in despair.

Two days later, got out my new box of scalpels and it was a case of do or die. The sky and trees were removed with no mishaps and I painted a new pale, tree-free sky, and carefully glued the bottom section of the painting on.

The rest of the painting went as well as it could, although towards the end I realised that the line of trees had been ok really...so I put them back in, but much, much lighter this time!

I have never had such problems with a painting - possibly in the past it would have been consigned to the bin, but I'd already entered this in the Fleet Art Society Spring Exhibition, due in on Wednesday this week. Now let's see how I can bodge up the framing.........

6 comments:

Magpie Magic said...

I am just so glad that you managed to salvage the painting. It looks stunning and I am sure it will do well with the other two at the exhibition. Good luck with it. :-)

Mel P said...

It is a beautiful painting, you deserve either a huge vat of wine or a truck load of chocolate for making it to the end! Good luck xx

Sallie said...

Oh my! The painting is lovely. I'm sorry you had so much difficulty with it.

Amie Soto Blossom said...

I know where Fleet is I was born in Godalming.

soggibottom said...

Don't moan.... I would die to be able to paint like this...... well maybe not die, but very envious. Hope the Zebra's have different stripes......?
Very well done x x x

PG said...

Ooh, dear...but it turned out marvellously!