I have recently finished a watercolour painting for my Mum (Christmas present finished a little late!). It has taken me several months to complete, though perhaps under 20 hours of actual work, my level of health means that I do not have many opportunities to do such concentrated work. I feel a sense of achievement that I managed it at all.

This image is a scan of a composite image as though I have a great scanner, the platen (as it calls it) is not big enough for my painting to go on whole, as the painting is about A3 size. I have done good quality scans of all parts of it though, but don’t have the software to fit the pieces together to make one flawless image. So please ignore the join marks!

I think you may need to click on it to see the whole thing.

I grow Japanese Anemones in my garden so it was the obvious subject choice as I could observe them without going anywhere. I also love the white ones very much. I split the background into thirds as I felt it would make the painting of such a large area more manageable. With the outlines of the leaves being so fiddly I was concerned about the paint drying during the process and leaving nasty lines. Also energy-wise and in terms of muscle pain it is good to be able to take a break. I felt the sections might be reminiscent of old japanese pictures done on sections of wood which were then joined together to form long and wide views. I added the lighter “bubbles” as I was worried the picture would be a bit dark as I was focussing on buds and leaves rather than a lot of flowers. I wanted to create a “bokeh” effect like in photographs. A bit of sparkle…

Well, I have completed page two, or image two or whatever!

I am not completely happy with it, but that is the risk i took by painting it directly into the book rather than sticking in a painting done on other paper. I am wary that i will be sticking in paper for other pages and don’t want it to get so chunky it won’t close, so that was why i took the risk this time. I also used watercolours… which i have not done since i was a teenager and they are a bit tricky sometimes!

So i was inspired by a programme on BBC4 on Katsushika Hokusai that i saw the other night, about his picture The Great Wave off Kanagawa. I have a calendar with this image in it, as i love it and bought it particularly for this image. Here is a photo of it to jog your memory:

hokusai-wave

A bad photo, but i have no scanner!

And here is my picture i just finished, i have called it Hokusai Gulls:

hokusai-gulls

I thought his picture could do with some bird life!! So i swapped the fishermen for gulls…

The card of the book is not really meant for painting on and evidently has some residue of glue or something in places, which affected the ability of the paint to stick: it works in places, but maybe not in others! But in spite of all this, i feel a sense of acheivement today, it is not bad for a first bold attempt straight into the book. If i am going to fill the book any time soon, i cannot be a perfectionist about it!