This week was Wicked. That is to say, that whilst I painted this week, I listened to the audiobook of Wicked, the fantastic novel by Gregory Maguire about the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
“Books fall open, you fall in. When you climb out again, you're a bit larger than you used to be”
If you haven’t read it, do. It’s such a clever and completely spellbinding story, and as I followed the twists and turns of the wonderful green-skinned heroine, Elphaba, I too was immersed in greens. And like Elphaba, I found that greens are made up of many layers and need to handled with great care and infinite patience.
The week began badly. After an exasperating weekend of putting paint on and then taking it off (don’t ask!), I awoke on Monday to find that my leaves had decided to curl up and die. I was very tempted to throw in the towel and start afresh, preferably with something which didn’t involve the frustrating task of painting dark green, shiny leaves on vellum.
I could have tried to paint the leaves from my reference photographs, but it’s never quite the same as painting from life. It’s strange to realise that fact, because when I first began to paint in watercolours a few years ago, I would have thought nothing of painting from a photograph. However nothing beats having the real thing in front of you.
So I carefully selected another branch from my Calamondin tree, trying to match up the leaves in terms of size and redrew the composition. To my surprise, I found that I actually preferred the new composition… the leaves were perkier and added a fresh liveliness to the layout. Even the sun came out to add a little dazzle.
I also finally figured out my green formula. I’m taking note of the colours because if you ask me what paints I used in a month’s time, I will look at you blankly.
|The greens take a lot of layers, a light hand and infinite patience|
|The palette set out ready for action. I didn't use all the colours in the little wells. I have a second palette to the side with my oranges and pinks.|
|Lemon Yellow, Cerulean, Indanthrene, New Gamboge, Permanent Rose, Sap Green were the main colours used. I usually use Winsor and Newton paints, but also have a very nice Schmincke cerulean which is quite transparent.|
So the painting progresses, and Dorothy is just about to kill the witch in the mistaken belief that she is wicked. I have a few surprises myself up my sleeve. I’m so glad that there’s a sequel because there's a lot more to do on this painting!! Right, I'm off to Oz.
“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises”
Pedro Calderon de la Barca