'The Lost Balloon'

Tomorrow we depart for the little island of Skopelos, Greece. It's a good way to end an unusally busy and productive summer. I have finally got to the stage where I can 'give up the day job' and will be handing in my notice at the shop when we return. It is the first time in ten years that I have been able to support myself on my illustration earnings alone and is a big moment for me. As this will be the last blog for a while, I thought I'd post the final stages of ' The Lost Balloon', which was collected by it's purchaser yesterday.

Here are the first washes, with the art masking fluid in place. It's fiddly stuff. I use a combination of a dip pen, scalpel and pointy stick to place it accurately. But it's worth doing, to get the free flow of paint over small details.

Detail of the mother hen. For some reason I found myself using colour combinations I rarely use, such as ultramarine and purple madder. The atmosphere of the picture, the brooding storm clouds, the air of urgency - 'we must be there by nightfall!' all suggested a Victorian Bronte-esque melodrama to me, and so 'mother' is clothed in rich, heavy colours. Later I found that purple is the favourite colour of the buyer, indeed, she was wearing a tee-shirt of almost identical colour to 'mother's' skirt. which was nice. Like cats, some paintings are just meant for certain people.

Detail of the shell taxi. Actual size is about 1-2 cm. I don't think I like the driver. I'm not sure why.

Here is the finished painting, without the mount. I invariably design my pictures in an oval or a circle, and withough the framing, it can look a bit loose and lost...

...until the mount is placed over it and it all makes sense! I added an extra leaf to the foreground, where a certain Mr Pumpkin-cat dug his little claws into a dry wash. (I thought I'd taught him to read 'NO CATS IN STUDIO'). The path on the right has been altered to come off the edge entirely, adding interest to the composition. And I think there's a warm bed and a cup of tea waiting for them at Journey's End. Who knows where the balloon will end up? The painting itself is by now hanging on a little girls' bedroom wall. She will no doubt have her own 'take' on what's happening in it. I hope it gives her much pleasure and maybe one day she will hand it down to her children and tell them the tale of 'the Lost Balloon'...whatever it is.

While we are away, my friend and fellow artist Rima will be looking after the hovel and its furry crew. I am getting somewhat nervous of Shelob, as I cleared two thirds of her nest while dusting and she has been hunched in a glowering sulk since. She killed another husband recently, and two daddy-long-leg suitors. She'd better behave herself, or she'll be outside for the winter.


Lorna said...


Lorna said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lorna said...

bon voyage, have a great holiday.

Anonymous said...

Have a goodun!! (Don't burn the house down Rima!)

patricia metola said...

very nice picture