This is watercolour painting I finished a couple of months ago. I had bought some Khadi paper (handmade Indian rag paper) which has a wonderful texture which got me thinking – I then got out the PVA and stuck some crumpled tissue paper on top of the Khadi which gave me the inspiration to paint the poppy because of the crinkled, papery texture of the petals.
I would love to do a larger version of this. Of course, in my book, the definitive poppy painting is by the American painter – Georgia O`Keefe. I was thrilled to see the original of this in a gallery in Orlando, Florida a few years ago. I was surprised how small the painting is because, when reproduced, it looks as though it should be enormous. A bit like the Mona Lisa I suppose that, too, is very small.
I do spend a lot of my painting time teaching and giving demonstration or workshops to art groups or clubs. I also accept commissions so there is usually not a lot of time to paint what I fancy. At the moment I am working on a commission – a painting of the 17th century manor house that we spent five weeks housesitting in August and September of this year. I started it in watercolour when we were there but wasn`t happy with it so, last week, I painstakingly scaled it all up from various photographs to fit a handsome linen canvas that I have been keeping for a special occasion and am working in acrylic. I don`t usually torture myself with perspective but this has to be right!
Oh talking of housesitting – we usually sit a house (and two cats) in Hampstead, London over Christmas and New Year. There is no booking for this year as the owners are not going away. We have agreed with the company for whom we work that we will be on `standby` from 23 December to 2 January – ie ready to grab our turkey under our arm and the ready-packed bag and go wherever we may be needed if there is an emergency – the regular sitter taken ill or something like that. Well it`s certainly different! I`m secretly quite pleased at the prospect of possibly having Christmas at home for the first time in three years but if duty calls …