Working on my latest big painting from my Habitat Series I was really wrestling with the greens. On the wall at the same time I had all the other pieces from this collection which had a multitude of lovely greens - from golden yellow to vibrant lime. I was keen to try and bring this big piece into the fold and I thought that getting the greens in tune with those in the other paintings would be the answer. I mixed a wide variety of green hues, experimented with combinations and over painted areas many times before I finally drew stumps and went back to my trusty sketchbook to see if I could figure out why I was struggling to recreate the 'perfect' shades of green.
I laid down some of the minty colours I wanted to enrich and warm up and began playing with glazes to see if that would prove to be the way forward. I used blues, turquoise, light green, you name it, to try and find my way back to the lovely rich greens I was seeking. But to no avail, the translucency of the glazes still captured the colours underneath too strongly and none of the greens I'd mixed were quite right.
However, the penny finally dropped and I did figure out why I was probably never going to achieve my preferred 'green destiny' on this occasion.
I'd used collage pieces from printed papers made on the gelli plate as the basis for many of the greens in the other paintings, which I'd then glazed over using a mixture of Pthalo Turquoise and Pthalo green. These underlying colours, really affected everything that came after and on top and without this base layer of the right colours it was going to be a challenge to achieve the colours I wanted.
In this case, I realised I'd left it too late to go back and add pieces of printed paper in the right colours, as the composition was too advanced and so much detail had already emerged.
So what to do?
Abandon or push on?
I decided to just accept that this piece was one of those 'naughty' ones that stubbornly wanted to go it's own way .......and then surrendered to the journey!
I let the cool minty greens be, and celebrated them with plenty of warm reds as a foil for the coolness they created and reached for the pink to add variety to the reds.
And now I'm so happy with the final colour palette, it's a bit of a twist on the other paintings in the series but they work so beautifully well together as I see them all up on the wall as a complete collection.
Sometimes you just have to relinquish control of the process and the outcome and let the painting do it's own thing, even if it feels a bit wayward and off track here and there, in spite of all your attempts to steer it in a particular direction.
Naughty paintings can still turn out to be good ones in the end!
The finished painting is called 'Place of Secrets'.
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