How to grow trees in just a week!

There was no time to show you any progress on this painting untill it was completed. Early last week I got an email from Gale who runs the 303 Gallery in Martock, asking if I had any image that could be used in their promotion of their summer exhibition ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ (new artwork required in any case, not necessarily fitting the exhibition title, but work inspired by or appropriate to the title always appreciated). As it happened, I had had an idea about this one, but was busy with other stuff and it hadn’t got onto paper.

So with a week or so to go, I was promoted to get the picture that I had been pondering in my head out and onto paper. Not that it was going to help the galley’s promotional efforts in advance, but it was never going to get painted otherwise. This is not my usual time frame to work in!

So here you have – ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ – finished, framed and delivered to the gallery in under 9 days. Yes, I composed it to fit an old frame. it’s allowed.

This is the sketch – originally done on my tablet phone because I couldn’t quite get the composition together on paper.

Under the Greenwood Tree - initial sketch done on my tablet phone
Under the Greenwood Tree – initial sketch done on my tablet phone

The initial concept of the picture needs no further explanation when you see the notices posted on the tree:

'Under the Greenwood Tree' - detail 7
‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ – detail 7
'Under the Greenwood Tree' - detail 8
‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ – detail 8

And the work-in-progress, now on actual paper, with actual watercolour paint:

First paint on paper - Prussian Blue underpainting
First paint on paper – Prussian Blue underpainting
more Prussian Blue
more Prussian Blue
beginning to add yellow (Indian yellow)
beginning to add yellow (Indian yellow)
A hint of magenta...
A hint of magenta, though not enough…
still more paint needed, it is too delicate
still more paint needed, it is too delicate

Finished painting, and some details:

'Under the Greenwood Tree' - finished.
‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ – finished.
the Knight under the Greenwood Tree
the Knight under the Greenwood Tree
the Virgin, waiting for her Unicorn
the Virgin, waiting for her Unicorn
a cat, for no particular reason
a cat, for no particular reason
a baby dragon, just because it seemed like a nice idea
a baby dragon, just because it seemed like a nice idea
'Under the Greenwood Tree' - detail 5
‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ – detail 5
'Under the Greenwood Tree' - detail 6
‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ – detail 6

7 Comments

  1. Thanks for showing the process too. Is this watercolour or water fast ink?

    1. Oh, I forgot to put that! In fact the Prussian Blue and the Purple Magenta are gouache, and the Indian Yellow is watercolour, but I am referring to this as a ‘watercolour ‘ painting because it is painted more like watercolour than gouache – the blue and magenta are particularly transparent, for gouache. I tend to think of gouache as a subset of watercolour. All of it apart from some little touches here and there are in only these three.

      1. Thanks Nancy. Your paintings are all so well drawn and with such control over the washes.
        As well as being generally fun!

        1. Thank you! When I do washes, I clear the top of my plan chest – which is big – and put the picture on its board flat down on top of it, then I paint leaning over the thing – slightly awkward on the back if you had to paint like that for hours, but it allows me to spin the painting round and get at any bit of it really quickly so as to get the wash to spread in the right places.

  2. Wonderful! And a cat always adds that something extra to a picture 😉

    1. Thank you Wendy! There is another notice on the tree with a very faded request from a witch for a familiar – I wanted it to be barely readable, just a little hint of a suggestion about the cat, or, the cat is just a cat – I like there to be some things open to opinion!

  3. […] Painted for the 303 Gallery’s summer exhibition of the same title. For the step-by-step photos of creating this painting have a look at the post on my blog: https://nancyfarmer.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/how-to-grow-trees-in-just-a-week/ […]

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