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Wicked

This week was WickedThat is to say, that whilst I painted this week, I listened to the audiobook of Wicked, the fantastic novel by Gregory Maguire about the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Wicked
โ€œBooks fall open, you fall in. When you climb out again, you’re a bit larger than you used to beโ€ 

Gregory Maguire
If you havenโ€™t read it, do. Itโ€™s such a clever and completely spellbinding story, and as I followed the twists and turns of the wonderful green-skinned heroine, Elphaba, I too was immersed in greens. And like Elphaba, I found that greens are made up of many layers and need to handled with great care and infinite patience.

 

Not even a healthy dose of imagination can bring these leaves back to life!

The week began badly. After an exasperating weekend of putting paint on and then taking it off (donโ€™t ask!), I awoke on Monday to find that my leaves had decided to curl up and die. I was very tempted to throw in the towel and start afresh, preferably with something which didnโ€™t involve the frustrating task of painting dark green, shiny leaves on vellum.
I could have tried to paint the leaves from my reference photographs, but itโ€™s never quite the same as painting from life. Itโ€™s strange to realise that fact, because when I first began to paint in watercolours a few years ago, I would have thought nothing of painting from a photograph. However nothing beats having the real thing in front of you. 
So I carefully selected another branch from my Calamondin tree, trying to match up the leaves in terms of size and redrew the composition. To my surprise, I found that I actually preferred the new compositionโ€ฆ the leaves were perkier and added a fresh liveliness to the layout. Even the sun came out to add a little dazzle.
I also finally figured out my green formula. Iโ€™m taking note of the colours because if you ask me what paints I used in a monthโ€™s time, I will look at you blankly.
The greens take a lot of layers, a light hand and infinite patience
The palette set out ready for action. I didn’t use all the colours in the little wells. I have a second palette to the side with my oranges and pinks.
Lemon Yellow, Cerulean, Indanthrene, New Gamboge, Permanent Rose, Sap Green were the main colours used. I usually use Winsor and Newton paints, but also have a very nice Schmincke cerulean which is quite transparent.
So the painting progresses, and Dorothy is just about to kill the witch in the mistaken belief that she is wicked. I have a few surprises myself up my sleeve. Iโ€™m so glad that thereโ€™s a sequel because there’s a lot more to do on this painting!! Right, I’m off to Oz.

โ€œGreen is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arisesโ€
 Pedro Calderon de la Barca

COMMENTS

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Shevaun, you've cracked those leaves for sure. What patience and perseverance you have, hats off to you, lady xxxx

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Thanks Claire. I'm still not quite convinced but at least they aren't being wiped off any more!

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Oh the frustrations of life models not cooperating! Its wonderful that you had a new specimen at hand and well worth the redraw as its turned out beautifully. Leaves, along with flowers, I find intimidating. Probably why I stick with boats and water. ๐Ÿ™‚

    It is a great idea to capture your palette colours for future reference.

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    It's looking amazing Shevaun! So glad you didn't give it up.

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Thanks, Debbie. I really couldn't let myself be defeated by leaves

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    It is going great Shevaun !!!

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Thank you, Giovanni… master of citrus fruit!

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Hi Jeanette, thank you! I don't know where my last reply went… I must have accidentally deleted it, but wanted to say that I found your colour charts very inspiring too. I've never done a colour value chart… I must try that!

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Brilliant! yes you just have to persevere with those leaves on vellum and not give up. It's a tedious job at times and no shortcuts. You did it though :))

  • 22nd February 2014
    reply

    Not quite there yet, Dianne! Thanks for all your help and encouragement though- it really helped!

  • 23rd February 2014
    reply

    Shevaun, I can't believe that you started over with a new drawing but it totally worked for you! I would have stubbornly struggled on trying to imagine/remember how the leaves looked, and ended up frustrated and defeated. I'll remember your example of just starting fresh when you need to. The leaves are looking fantastic–smooth and glossy as they should. Btw, I listen to audio books while I work too, and I'll put Wicked on my list. We saw the play a couple of years ago and loved it! I just finished Anne of Green Gables and enjoyed it a lot. The author's descriptions of the countryside are lovely.

  • 23rd February 2014
    reply

    This is really lovely Shevaun, so glad you didn't give up. Here is a little quote for you:- Winners are not people who Never Fail but people who Never Quit..sums you up. Xx

  • 23rd February 2014
    reply

    I seem to be forever changing the composition as I go along… I paint too slowly and the plants lose patience with me! I loved the musical too, but the book is still worth reading. I'll keep an eye out for Anne of Green Gables, thanks!

  • 23rd February 2014
    reply

    Thank you so much Frances, that's a lovely lovely quote.

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