The table before and after.
Sitting outside at my table.
Before I tell you about my creative process I want to tell you about our habit of sitting outside. I like sitting outside; either alone or with Derek, my husband, or with family or friends. We experience mild weather here most of the year and Derek works from home so many days are enjoyed outside. This became a habit when, with our African travels, we didn’t have anywhere else to sit but outside.
when I am outdoors I enjoy watching the birds and animals going about their lives, seemingly content. I am also aware of watching the weather patterns in the sky with different cloud formations. Maybe this is because my father was a ship’s captain and he had a trained eye for watching the weather. And lastly, as you know from my poem Gloaming, my time of day, I find that twilight or gloaming is the best time to be energized. What better place to be than outside when this happens?
Back to the art process: inspiration.
I often paint in the round: I call my images mandalas. Usually they are symbolic. So being presented with a round table I naturally came up with a design that was shaped to the round but because it is an outside table for the garden I wanted it to be more rustic; rather than precise and formal. I also wanted to bring a realistic image from my garden into the content. We have a rose arch where the sparrows have nested at the top. They have been nesting there for years. This is what inspired the central piece. Naturally I couldn’t see in – so I used my imagination.
The next decorative layer became the ring of roses and leaves encircling the nest, resembling life for the birds in summer. The background is the blue sky, essential for birds on the wing; and the purple edge, with the paisley, matches the deepening hues of the sun that eventually fades away. Objects become odd shaped, unrecognizable, transmitted ‘pricklings’ of light amongst the undiscerned darkness.
Here is the list of materials I used:
Paper for pre-sketch
photographs and pictures to help design my final images
charcoal for pre-sketch and drawing the outlines
acrylic and craft paints
water for cleaning brushes
palate (I use an old ice-cream lid)
stencil and sponge for applying the paint
varnish for protection layer
Creating the images:
First I used a big piece of butcher paper to sketch out my pre-sketch. I used charcoal to ‘pencil’ in the images. Throughout I use acrylic and craft paint. I painted the background: the sky blue and purple, next I added the geometric borders. After that I began adding white paint to create the flower and leaf images and so I started layering colours process.
In the left-hand picture you can see that the leaves in the center started off the same colour as the outer rose-leaf design but in the right-hand one I have darkened the leaves. I was thinking about how in summer the growth is darker green than in autumn when the colours change to russet colours.
Here you can see how I have worked on the birds and the nest, intensifying the colours as I went.
And here, if you compare the leaves around the nest in the first picture they are darker and more monochrome. This was the initial layer and if you look closely you can see my charcoal lines that get painted out eventually. I think the final result, below, in the second image is more interesting. Can you spot the mistake? You might see it better in the next image.
Compare the above finished image with the one below, especially note the leaves in the outer circle of rose-leaf motif : The first image shows how I have added a third, colour using line to sharpen up the image.
I haven’t varnished the table yet so I can still add some finishing touches. I wonder if I could have made the roses a little pinker or darker? I know it is hard for you see but what do you think? Feel free to let me know.
And remember to let me know if you think you have spotted the mistake. I will post a new image next week showing the mistake.
Enjoy whatever you do!