At last the cherry trees I promised long ago have made their first appearance, albeit in a very slender and rather deserted showing, without any of the leaves and blossoms that will make them so pinkly pretty. I’ve contrived to make the branches point to the Empress’ belly again, like the lines of the architecture – I want to make the painting feel as if every living thing is focused upon her, so all the plants are reaching toward her; the morning glory that almost touches her hand, and the ivy on the pillars that grows at the same angle as her body are already in place – watch for more as the work continues. I’m looking forward to developing the environment around the girls to become an increasingly rich and detailed world, like the work of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Stanhope I mentioned yesterday.
I spent a little while reworking the morning glory flowers with some Cadmium Blue. I’ll add a little Rose Madder around the centre and into the pentagrams before I glaze these blossoms with a French Ultramarine. I wasn’t happy with the early rendering, but they’ll do for the base for new work. I’ve also added Naples Yellow veining to the leaves.
The wormwood has been lightened by an overpainting of a pale blue / green that brings the value to where it should be and allowed me to put back some of the detail that was lacking. I really want to add more plants around the bottom side of the wormwood, coming over the wall and curling up towards the Empress.
I still dislike the design of that yellow dress on the left. I’m going to have to revisit it pretty soon (again).
I found an excellent Art History blog that’s very well written and extremely knowledgeable. I recommend it: Three Pipe Problem. My students, go see this excellent resource.