Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Why Oh Why Did I Choose To Add Tartan?!

Hi everyone

I have been very busy of late trying to do lots of things, one of which was to finish the painting I started for the Port Community Arts Centre "Celtica" exhibition.    This exhibition is held once a year and is a member's exhibition where the theme is anything Celtic.  Members can enter paintings or sculptures on any subject they wish and win a prize or merit award, but there is always a special separate category and prizes reserved for those that enter the Celtic section. I always like to put in something with a Celtic theme and in previous years I have been lucky enough to sell paintings and receive some merit awards. 

This year, for goodness knows what reason, I got it in to my obviously senile brain, that I would paint some flowers.  As someone who has not painted watercolour flowers before and has not painted more than 3 flowers in any medium in the last 20 years, this was probably not the smartest thing for me to decide to do.  So, undaunted by the fact that I didn't have any idea how to paint flowers,  I set about doing a couple of Scottish Thistles with some Heather amongst them.  So far, so good - they were duly penciled in and I started to paint them.   I intended the painting  (as I usually do) to be sort of loose but it ended up getting more and more detailed (as they usually do). 

It was at this point that I decided they should have tartan ribbon or fabric wrapped all around them.  Yes, I know, I can't explain it - I don't know what possessed me. I roughly pencilled in something that looked like ribbon and because I had purple flowers and some touches of yellow on the leaves I figured that something with yellow would be the go.  It was while I was pondering upon this subject that John Ford, my very talented art teacher, came over and suggested that I use something with yellow in it.  As he had suggested the same thing I had just been thinking, I knew I was on to something.

I went looking on the internet but next day  John emailed me a picture of the McLeod of Lewis tartan.  Well,  as I am a fan of the "Highlander" movie and the clan McLeod, that seemed to be a good choice and I duly set to, innocently unaware of what a pain it was going to be to paint this jolly tartan fabric.

I didn't like the outline of the ribbon I had drawn in so I rubbed it all out and started again. I still wasn't happy and next thing you know I was drawing in and rubbing out and then re-drawing in again (and rubbing out again etc., etc.).   Finally I got a shape of draped tartan cloth that I could live with (mostly because I was simply fed up with the whole exercise) and I started to work out what colours to  to use for the tartan so as to get it as close as possible to the picture John had sent me.