Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Holly and the Ivy

Cut a couple of lengths of ivy and a small branch of holly and brought them into the kitchen where I could work from them in the heat of the house rather than go out to my cold studio. I've got good heating out there but chose not to have it on today. HOLLY: Working once again with this combination of felt pen and watercolour wash I started with this drawing of the holly filling the leaf shapes with strong washes of dark green/blue.
IVY: Next came this study of the two lengths ivy. The section on the left is from an older, harder, growth and the section on the right from newer, softer, growth with it's small bunches of flowers.
IVY AND HOLLY: Prior to starting this series of small watercolours I already had this idea of combining a figure with one of the plants. It wasn't too big a step from there to colouring the female figure green!
CHRISTMAS MORNING: Another combination this time with the holly and the ivy. I liked it simply as a drawing but still felt it needed some bigger idea to complete it. That's where the rising sun comes in! Last week on Thursday morning (21st December about 09:10) I was out early and waiting for a bus to take me into Glasgow as the blazing sun began to rise over the horizon. It was magnificent! Next day (Friday) was the winter solstice but in East Kilbride we had a dense fog so couldn't see that sunrise direct. I did, however, see it through the Heritage Ireland website which was showing live video of the dawn at Newbridge - a megalithic structure built over 5,000 years ago, where for a short period of about 17 minutes the rays of the sun shine through a roof-box directly down the length of it's internal corridor into a central chamber. It's an astonishing achievement for an ancient civilisation to be able to predict this happening every year. This little watercolour is my tribute to those early people whom I feel a human solidarity with.

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