still stitching

Work such as this is time-consuming… probably more so than it looks. There are so many tones involved and since those slender leaves need the slimmest brushes to produce them, the tide of foliage across the surface of the painting creeps at a snail-like pace. There are blackbirds too to be included, and those will start going in tomorrow.

This dense patterning isn’t intended to draw too much attention to itself in the composition. In some respects I want it to go almost unnoticed, the idea being that it’s there to reward anyone lingering over the composition and taking the time to step close to it. But even though that’s the effect I’m aiming for, it needs a meticulous execution or the ‘busyness’ could at best unbalance the painting, or worse, overturn it. So the result is that fronds get painted in and back out again rather endlessly as I try to find the perfect balance. Sometimes I dream that the mice will come and finish the leaves for me at night after I’m done at the easel, as they come to finish embroidering the mayor’s wedding waistcoat in Beatrix Potters The Tailor of Gloucester. Alas all the Ty Isaf field mice seem to do is remove our shoelaces in the boot-room and then weave them into winter nests inside our wellingtons! My walking boots these days are laced with garden twine!

7 thoughts on “still stitching

  1. Love those abalone wings!

    My, you have been busy since I was here. That will teach me to stay away! However, I have managed to jump a few fences and gallop away from some deadlines, so maybe I will be better. Am also working on foliation–something to send you and Andrew soon. Like Marvell’s “A green thought in a green shade.”

    • I’m pleased you think you’ve a lot to catch up with hare. From this end it just seems like the same old same old, slogging away painting too slowly!

      Glad that you’ve met some of those deadlines that have been worrying you. It’s tough always to be at the mercy of them. But then again, I guess we should be glad that we have deadlines!

    • I fear we have really quite naughty mice. (Or maybe they’re just opportunistic.) They’re sweet little country creatures, and only come indoors in the Winter. They seem to steer clear of the kitchen… Jack’s territory… and have mainly been a problem in the boot room. They used to invade the old larder too, but after creating a new one that’s vermin-resistant, we have the situation back under control. (Brick walls that meet a slate floor. No skirting boards for little mice to creep under, and we always keep the well-sealed door closed.) I don’t think it’s possible to live in an old house like this and not have the odd uninvited guest. On occasions when the front door has been left open during warm days and summer evenings, I’ve found toads, small birds and shrews on the flagstones. And once, a lizard!

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