Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sycamore Leaf

oil on card 17x20cm

Putting the old wipes from the last painting out into the bins, I looked down and saw this early dropper on the damp pavement. I really liked its grey-greens and pinks.

I tried out a walnut oil painting medium on this one. Walnut oil is far more mobile than linseed and is very responsive under the brush. Its downside is that it takes a little longer to dry, but this can be improved by mixing it with damar varnish. This medium will dry enough overnight to take a second layer, but retains its working qualities longer than a linseed medium, which gets very tacky surprisingly quickly. Altogether, this small painting took about eight hours – an afternoon to lay in the heavier stuff, and part of the following day to tighten up and modify with thinner layers.

The more I looked at the leaf, and my image of it, the more it appeared to have female aspects, both physically and on another level. I quite like the idea of the leaf having a rush of sensuality as it decomposes and breaks down into fertile elements for the next cycle, and of the ‘fig leaf’ suggesting what it’s meant to hide.

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