Despite several attempts to pretend spring has arrived, placing daffodils in vases and filling the house with the smell of hyacinths, winter still has us in its grip. As I type this, the snow is falling outside my window and the sky is a leaden grey. I don’t mind the snow so much but I hate the bitter cold winds and the gloom.
For the last couple of months I have been busy creating a new collection of designs for the various trade shows. I had a day walking around the Spring fair in Birmingham and enjoyed chatting to my agent, other artists and manufacturers, I even spotted a few of my own products which was gratifying. The show seemed much smaller than in previous years but still a great place to visit and trend spot.
In between days of incessant rain we have had some lovely bright sparkly days, blue skies and light. Heartwarming days that lift the spirits and make me want to paint. Nature is always the most inspiring of subjects and walking Ted in all weathers provides many opportunities to observe wildlife. I decided to start a new painting, trying to capture the colours of winter and the shapes and patterns of the fern stems, seed heads and dead grasses that appear beneath the melting snow. I love the repetition of natural forms, the details on the tree bark, the way the light gives a richness and warmth to a winter’s afternoon. I decided that the painting needed life so added a fox, a familiar sight around these parts and can sometimes be seen in the daylight.
I like to work on stretched Bockingford cold press paper, which allows the paint to be lifted when water is applied and then removed with a tissue. I first painted a wash over the entire piece and then worked on top, slowly adding the details to create the desired effect. I use tiny brush strokes applied with a series 7 Windsor and Newton Finest Sable brush. I used bleach, process white, gouache and white pencil to create the snow-covered areas and to pick out the details on the seed heads. As with all my work I never feel entirely happy, often adding bits, removing, changing and fiddling until a point is reached where I have to say enough is enough. It is not perfection but it is as good as I can make it and overall I am happy with the result. If you click on the images you will see more details and see how the work develops over time.
My name is Valerie Greeley. I am an artist, surface pattern designer, illustrator. I have a special interest in the book arts including illustration, bookbinding, printmaking and artist books. I also have an interest in quilting, nature and bumblebees.