Today it is another from the Hedgerow poem by Don Moore, ‘Pan sitting in an Elder bush’. This is part one of a series of four watercolours.
Just over a year ago I was looking for an excuse to paint a hedgerow when I discovered a poem by Don Moore called “The Hedgerow Watcher”, It was exactly what I was looking for, a Cornish hedge, with many wildflowers and small animals in a Cornish landscape.
Here I will describe how I went about creating the first of what turned out to be a four part painting.
The poem is full of descriptions so that made it very easy to visualise the scene. To begin with I did some very rough sketches of what I was aiming at and then some sketches of other images I could find of Pan and of men sitting on the floor.
As Pan is sat in the an Elder bush I chose to use the more upright of the figures, it also felt more exotic and would adjust better to look like the god. I added the horns and beard and made the cheek bone more pronounced, then finally added the faun legs and feet. Next I had to work out the size that would fit best, so I copied out various sizes and tried them on a rough sketch of the scene drawn out on the same size paper as the final piece. It sounds long winded but it saves problems later. When I was happy with everything I copied it out on to the watercolour paper and drew the Elder bush.
So that I didn’t loose Pan amongst the leaves and branches I painted his skin first to make him stand out. Next I painted the branches so that I could see where they crossed the body and where the leaves would be, adjusting as I went along. I tend to work from the top left to the bottom right to reduce the chances of damaging any paint, so once the structure was done I filled in from that corner down adding the detail as I went. When all the scene was painted I added shadow to give depth.
As I said earlier this was the first part of four, each 22 x 15 inches all four parts were painted simultaneously so as to keep them all consistent with each other, for example , Pan also appears in the last part so I painted both Pans at the same time so that there was no variation in colour.
The final four panels were the centre piece of my foundation degree exhibition last year.