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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.!


© Claire Leggett “Snooty Cats”

So here is the final metamorphosis of this painting. I’m moving on 😉

It’s done! All 84 x 59 cm of it. That’s a lot of paint. And time. And patience…

It’s been a gargantuan task – there is lots I love about it and some things I’d change but for now c’est finito (do you like my grasp of languages!)

Thanks for all your lovely comments about the New Leaf show – you guys are great at cheering me on – don’t ever stop! Especially as I have more good news to share later in the week 🙂

Back in May I painted three of the tulips I had grown in the garden. They were unexpectedly beautiful and I wanted to capture them before they died – and I didn’t have much time. So I bit the bullet and painted them but not in my usual fashion. I was right out of my comfort zone for many reasons. I like to build a still life and see how everything is going to work together before I begin. I like to paint from the back towards the front not the other way around and I don’t often paint anything as large as this which is A1.

It began well enough and has sat on the easel since May looking at me across the room and asking ‘Are you brave enough yet to finish me?’ And the answer has been no… until now.

I am finding it really difficult though!

I have built a set up around the same vase but with three (of the most awfully tacky) pretend roses in it to help the composition. But it’s just not the same as the living thing. And because I wanted this piece of be about Spring I am having to use some faux Forsythia.

The painting around is driving me to distraction – I have coated the tulips in matt acrylic varnish to protect them but even so I have drawn it out, painted over it to wash the background and am concentrating so hard on not losing the pencil lines or paint on the tulips that I think I might just blow a gasket soon!

Well enough of the grumbles and lets get back to plodding along! Hope you’re having a good week.

The teacups are finished. Over the last few weeks I have been working backwards putting in backgrounds behind the cups that I painted.

I can’t remember now why I did it that way around? I never normally do! I have also painted complete, extra backgrounds to fiddle around with in Photoshop. Maybe that’s why I painted and scanned the cups first…

Everyone whose been up to the studio has a different favourite. I love the top pink and gold one (on right.) There are clearer photo’s in Flickr.  Have a lovely Monday:)

This is one of my favourite teacups to paint. There is something satisfying about its shape and pattern to draw and paint. I started out by ghosting in all the shadows. I learnt the hard way once when I drew in all that pattern and then lost it by washing over the greys.

This time I drew the pencil on top. I love drawing on a painted surface. It has an extra yummy feel to it.

And then I filled in the blue pattern by layering shades of blue water-colour wash to get light and dark tones.

There were plenty of real cups of tea along the way too!

© Claire Leggett Blue Floral Teacup

I have had so much fun with this painting.

All those spots of colour for the buttons on the teapot have been fun to mix and paint.

I had to take my time and layer them up bit by bit. It was very time-consuming but I got all caught up on The Archers and all the Afternoon Play’s not to mention the Classic Serial and the Saturday Play!

Did I ever tell you that I work best when listening to some kind of dialogue on the radio like a play or podcast. Something that I don’t have to remember later because although I am listening I’m not taking it in, it just serves to stop me thinking too consciously about what my hand is doing with the paintbrush. It helps me be more instinctive. Am I a funny creature or do you find the same?

 Here she is in all her finished glory and I’ve put her for sale here.

Button Teapot Sept 2011 © Claire Leggett

Last Christmas I was given this button teapot and apart from making a great brew it looks good too.

I also struck lucky at the car boot sale recently in finding these vintage Sylko threads.

Then one idea spurred another on and after rummaging further through my Nan’s sewing box, I found a lovely ornate pair of scissors and an old tape measure. And that’s how this still life came about.

I thought you might like to see the process photo’s. This is my under-painting of the shadows and it’s this that gives the objects form before the patterns go on top. It looks rather ghostly!

And here it is with the patterned background painted in. I love this piece of grey wrapping paper and have used it loads. It’s just the right colour and density of pattern and so it often works just right.

And of course you can’t beat a lovely medium weight, slightly rough water-colour paper to absorb all that paint and water that has been sloshed about.

So good, so far. All the enjoyable coloured details next. Lots of colours to mix up for those buttons. Lu came home and decided to take a picture of me hard at it and as it was relatively flattering I thought I’d include it here. Back with the finished piece soon I hope. And I hope I’ll still be smiling!

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