I’m having a chill out afternoon in front of the fire, I’ve been working 7 days a week and felt I needed time to chill a bit before I prepare for the Dickensian market which starts next week.
I’ve been looking through my folders of past work and found this piece. It was painted as part of the City and Guilds course using the European method of painting , which means the whole piece is painted in one fire. I thought I’d share with you some of my thought processes involved in designing and painting this piece as it was quite an emotional journey.
I used to spend a lot of time gardening, it was a way of getting close to nature in my own back garden when living in an urban environment. I was a little sad to leave this garden which I had spent years designing and forming into a peaceful sanctuary, but I had 6 months before moving on to better things living in the country, so I spent time taking pictures of my garden over this period, as well as taking cuttings, collecting seeds and potting up plantlets. I actually had a separate removal van just for my plants.
So with the wonders of modern technology….. my computer…. and hundreds of photo’s I began to draw a few sketches, finally deciding on a garland on a round bone china platter, the design was somewhat inspired by an Ewe Giessler book cover, Ewe was a true master of the Dresden style of painting.
Then a watercolour painting was made to help me balance warm and cool colours, as well as flower shapes. I added some lobelia flowers, I wasn’t sure the white flowers worked, but I had to have them in there as they have special meaning to me. I also put in some buttercups as I’d built up a bit of a love hate relationship with them over the years.
Some of the flowers have a special meaning, those Japanese anemones that came from a holiday in Norfolk, or the gooseberries which came from my favourite garden centre.
Overglaze enamels were mixed with fat oil and turpentine, which dries quickly, so the colour can be built up rather like watercolour painting layering colour, but this method of painting has it’s drawbacks as it’s very difficult to blend colours. A couple of days later the platter was ready to have the gold rim and central design added, then it was ready for kiln firing.
Even though I painted this a while back and the piece is not really my ‘style’ it has a special place in my heart so I have kept it, it’s not on display, but stashed in a cupboard somewhere, every now and then I’m looknig for something and i stumble upon it and my mind happily wanders back to my garden.