My last painting is in a larger format (A1) because I wanted to try to capture the amazing grandeur and breadth of the tree. I’ve never painted in watercolour on this size before but felt it was right for the subject. Even on this size I don’t feel to have been able to capture the vastness of these trees.
I painted this image at the same speed that I had painted the Red Tree with no preliminary study. The image of the great Moreton Bay Fig was in my mind and with the help of photographs I simply enjoyed the experience, beginning first with a wash of cobalt blue with cadmium orange. With the image in front of me and using indigo and blue acrylic ink, I painted without looking at the paper! Once again the pace was frantic but exhilarating. When I felt to have captured the general shape I applied more water in splashes across the page and was delighted when the blue ink revealed a lovely green as it diluted.
The sad thing was that the paper began to buckle with all of the water and formed a ridge down the centre of the tree where the paint stayed. I tried to rectify this but there was a limit to how much I could tilt the board because the painting was very wet. Managing this degree of wetness is obviously a skill! Looking at the painting the following day, I felt I had to get rid of the ridge of paint so very lightly I added touches of orange oil pastel to the trunk. I feel this has introduced a control which I’m not happy with…. but on the positive side, it brings a balance of orange tint to the foreground.
As I look at the painting now, I feel that the whole image is like a splash of paint thrown on the paper to form the wonderful fluid shape of a tree.