This is Port Loe a little fishing village on the South coast of Cornwall
After a much longer break than anticipated I am back to the mouse book that I started quite a while back. Below are my sketches for the first two images, as I mentioned in my blog back in April, https://wp.me/p7Ohdq-j7 , the story is about a mouse’s adventures after he is caught and removed from the house.
The first painting is of the mouse in the boiler cupboard, it seems to be one of their favourite places, we even found a shrew in there once which was very vocal about being removed.
As usual I drew out the image on Bockingford paper with a pale purple watercolour pencil so that it washes away once the paint is added.
As the cupboard is dark I mixed Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson and Lemon Yellow watercolour to make a dark grey to paint the inside shadowy areas and the back of the door. To contrast the inside with with the outside I used a mixture of Lemon Yellow and Gamboge Hue to represent the light from the room outside. Once dry, I painted another layer of the grey to increase the depth of the shadows inside the cupboard. The old piece of paper on the back of the door was painted with Yellow Ochre and a little touch of Ultramarine.
Next was the pipework which was painted using Cadmium Red, Ultramarine and Gamboge Hue, to make a dark coppery colour and for the joints I added extra Gaboge Hue for a lighter brassy look. The shadows were added using more of the grey mixture. For the mouse I used Ultramarine, a small amount of Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre which tends to granulate and gives a nice texture for the fur, and I dabbed off with tissue for the lighter areas. The mouse’s shadow was painted using the same grey as the inside of the cupboard and for the mousetrap I used a watered down version of the pipework mixture. Finally I added the little details and shadows and used a black watercolour pencil on the eye and around the joints of the pipes.
The second image is the same scene looked at from the outside of the cupboard, so the room is painted with the mixture of Lemon Yellow and Gamboge Hue and the dark cupboard with the grey mix. The rest was just adding a few details to the room with the mouse trap and the jar of peanut butter to hint at what the smell was that brought the mouse out of the safety of the cupboard. This image also expresses just how small the little mouse was out in the big wide world.
Here are the two finished paintings, the start of the story where the mouse is tempted out and gets caught in the trap.
And here are the sketches for the next two images where the mouse travels in the trap and is released.
For some time now a story I started about a mouse has been in limbo while other things were worked on. So now I am determined to complete my little book and thought that It would be interesting to share the process, it might take a while so here goes.
We sometimes have a problem with mice in the house, so we have humane mousetraps permanently set up in a few places where mice have been caught before, I check them every morning just in case we have had a visitor. There have not been any so far this year but in previous years we have caught quite a few. When we do catch one we take it up the road away from houses and release it into a hedge. The mice usually bound away but occasionally they have to be coaxed out and sometimes they run into the shadow of the person releasing them. As a family we have talked about what we think that the mice might get up to once they are released and what adventures they may have, so it occurred to me that these ideas would work nicely as a picture book.
Some of these photos are a little blurry, the mouse moves fast!
So my story is about a mouse that we caught in the house and then released up the road and all of his adventures until he finds his way back to the house again. I have done some of the work a little while back so much of the research has been done and some drawings and even a few paintings but I will try to work chronologically so the story can be followed as it grows.
Lots of mice were drawn
And some painted.
Over the next few weeks I will be working on the start of the story, I have rough sketches drawn and now I need to translate them into finished scenes.
Rough Sketches 1 and 2 waiting to be transformed into finished pages.