Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Nana - Peter Pan (Dogs of Literature No 1)

oil painting of Nana, the dog from Peter Pan
Where do artists get their ideas and inspiration from? This question has been bothering me since the turn of the year, as I have struggled a bit to maintain the momentum of painting every day. Sometimes the ideas pot seems empty.
The only answer I can think of is a combination of perseverance and serendipity. 
In an attempt to recover my mojo, I decided to paint a few still lives for a change. Half way through the first one, I found myself thinking: "I am not in the least bit interested in grapes. Or pots. Or even flowers. What I like is dogs. And books."

So here we have a dog on a book. I couldn't find a copy of Peter Pan to disembowel for my constructed background, so I downloaded a chapter from the marvellous Project Gutenberg, shrank the text and printed it out.
This painting is therefore made on a linen board, 'dressed' with a collage of Peter Pan text. It is then double-primed with clear gesso and (once dry) painted thinly with raw sienna (a transparent oil colour), deliberately coated as unevenly as possible. 
Nana was painted on to the raw sienna whilst it was wet using cobalt blue, black and white (plus a bit of brown for the eyes).
I think I might do a few more Dogs of Literature.

Mrs. Darling loved to have everything just so, and Mr. Darling had a passion for being exactly like his neighbours; so, of course, they had a nurse. As they were poor, owing to the amount of milk the children drank, this nurse was a prim Newfoundland dog, called Nana, who had belonged to no one in particular until the Darlings engaged her. She had always thought children important, however, and the Darlings had become acquainted with her in Kensington Gardens, where she spent most of her spare time peeping into perambulators, and was much hated by careless nursemaids, whom she followed to their homes and complained of to their mistresses. She proved to be quite a treasure of a nurse.” 
Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie