I’m working on a composition – which has been quite difficult to work out, actually – of a tree with loads of creatures on it, a bit like one of those scientific diagrams showing how different species have evolved from a common ancestor. I’m also slightly alarmed at how much its beginning to feel like Gustav Klimt’s ‘Tree of Life’ – this is unintentional, but like I’ve said before, once I start a picture, it takes on a life of it’s own and for me to fight it is futile. I learned a long time ago to be guided by the picture as it develops, irrespective of whether it’s my original intention for it to go in a different direction.
I think the Klimt thing is because it’s quite a decorative image and I’ve been using gold leaf. Previously I’ve used gold inks in my work, but never leaf. Actually it’s a copper-based gold leaf substitute due to the outrageous price of the genuine article.
Here’s a sneak preview of a section featuring a chameleon and a flying fish, with gold leaf still drying around them…
Moth thinks it’s bonkers: “What’s a fish doing in a tree?” he asked. “It’s not” I replied, “its in a painting.”
I’ve also painted in a rather lovely hare… but you can’t see that until it’s finished. (I think you’ll like it.)