Over the last two weeks I have been to-ing and fro-ing with this painting here. I have wanted to capture some snowdrops for a while but there is such a short window between buying them and getting them painted that before you blink they’ve dried up.
I’ve also had these ‘snooty cats’ for a while now – a car boot sale find – they just appeal to me and I like their slightly haughty air.
The background was some off cuts of our bedroom wallpaper which I never tired of until this painting.
So I set this up fairly confidently that the colours and compositions were going to work and set to getting those snowdrops done quickly.
A few days solid painting and I’d finished…so I thought! I like to prop paintings up somewhere outside of the studio and live with them for a while – it gives a bit of perspective on the finished article and for good reason because as we lived with this, we could all see that those birds were really distracting. Back to the drawing board.
I carefully mopped them out and painted in using the background colours which were (luckily) still left on the palette – hurray for watercolours. Cue a bit more living with it and it still wasn’t clicking. i decided that the background paper, beautiful as it is, was just not the right pattern for this set up because it was fighting for attention.
So I took a radical step which took a few days of building up to, and masked the whole of the foreground and then washed the entire background out and began again.
Scary stuff! I can continue to recommend Peobe masking fluid is all I can say.
I should also say that the paper was stretched on a board so even though it got a good soaking, once it dried out, is was tight and flat again.
Then I painted in a plain grey background colour and masked in a simple, more regular pattern which I then painted over again for a two-tone finish. And I. was. sick. of.it!
© Claire Leggett “Snooty Cats”
So here is the final metamorphosis of this painting. I’m moving on