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My Biggest Painting Yet... and it is not the size...

 

Little did I know that when I started the idea for my painting ‘Undergrowth’ in 2017, that I would still be working on it 2 years later (and it still is not finished).

Prior to 2017, I was already working with my life model to start combining the human form into my artwork. This idea is part of the ‘Secrets of Nature’ series, where I want to show that even though the human race does not necessarily feel a part of nature and the ecosystem, they are none the less. If we thought of ourselves as a part of nature’s many cycles, we may also be more aware of the consequences to our environment when we consume and damage it. You can find more information about my series ‘Secrets of Nature’ here.

The painting ‘Undergrowth’ began with the idea that sepals could be replaced on flowers with hands, my initial sketches can be seen below.

 

 

I chose to apply this idea to the Corncockle, as it has 5 sepals, just as we have 5 digits (4 fingers, 1 thumb). The Corncockle is a fairly small flower that can be seen growing in meadows with Cornflowers and Ox-Eye Daisies. As with the majority of my paintings, I don’t want the changes I make to nature to be too obvious, I want the viewer to hunt for the details and many different elements within my paintings. I want ‘Undergrowth’ to be full of plants growing so it looks initially tangled but as you start to study it, you see both the order and harmony of many plants growing together. The viewpoint of this painting is of a small rodent or insect scurrying through the undergrowth; an area that we normally trample underfoot without a second thought.

The more I thought about the detail and atmosphere that I wanted to include I was reminded of Richard Dadd’s painting ‘The Fairy Fellers Master-Stroke’, certainly not my usual source of inspiration but I do admire his detail, and this inspired my compositional sketch for the painting,

Richard Dadd has everything in focus in his painting, which I didn’t want, as when we look at a landscape, the distance is slightly out of focus, because we are focussing on the foreground. I want the foreground and detail to be observed first, so I have camouflaged the Ox-Eye Daisy into the background colour. Unlike Dadd I wanted a sense that you could enter the painting. Dadd constructs grasses in the foreground that act as a barrier to the viewer so you cannot enter his painting. I have tried to achieve the feeling that you can disappear amongst the grasses just as you can in a cornfield. I have achieved this by the use of light and by creating a little path where perhaps the field voles run amongst the grasses. My painting is highly textured, indicating that there is more plants and grasses growing beyond what you can simply see; the undergrowth has an infinite depth when viewed from this perspective.

As you get further into the painting, you start to notice that this is no ordinary field; little hands clutch Corncockle flowers. Are they delicately holding up these flowers to be revered or are they about to crush them? I shall leave the answer up to you…


How I have layered and built up the detail in this painting can be seen below,

 

This painting is still a work in progress as detail still needs to be added to the background. If you would like further information or first refusal on this painting, then please do not hesitate to contact me art@claire-harrison.co.uk


July 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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