My Most Challenging Paintings
1. Gunnera tinctoria
Most of you know this painting. After she is selected a few times ‘Best in Show’ in different international exhibitions, she became like my flag-ship painting. Very colorful, full of joy, but when the plant was first introduced me at 2010, I didn’t feel so joyful. It was more like a fear and excitement I had. The plant is huge. You can simply walk under it’s big leaves, like a little forest. Fruit size is enormous, as well as the flower. Apart from the size of the plant, the amount of details on such a plant is incredible, it is just so beautifully decorated.
So I was going to work on it, but I didn’t feel ready at all to do such a piece back in then 2010. I have gathered some sketches from different botanic gardens on different lands. I traveled to a lot to find the best possible samples. Leaves are collected from Dawyck Botanic Garden, fruit is from Logan Botanic Garden, flowers and some more leaves are from Chile. I mean, I really travelled!. Like about 3 years, I have gathered sketches, studies about Gunnera, and only 3 years later I felt more mentally ready – ‘Maybe I can paint it now, but just maybe.?’. Then 2013, I have started my final piece, and in 3 months full time working, she was there..
2. Araucaria araucana
Another Challenge – Monkey Puzzle Tree! Cross-eyed design, very spiny and painful. They took me to top of the tree to choose my own sample with a full protection cables and cask, but still it was really high. And yet, it was not easy to hold or touch to the branches, which every leaf has a very strong and stiff but fine needles. Painful, really painful.
Finally I got my sample, and about a month, I have just managed to draw it! My eyes are suffered as it was impossible to follow the leaf you were drawing. I added some white marks on the actual leaves just to able to remember ‘Which one I am looking at?’
My final painting took about 4 months constant work. Completed in Istanbul with a backround music Shpongle-Ineffable Mysteries From Shpongleland, on and on again.
3. Lophosoria quadiripinnata
A giant fern it is. One of the most primitive plants was covering all the sides of the road to the Volcan Osorno at Puerto Varas. On our way to Volcano, we have collected a few big leaves, and amazing leaf bud covered with colourful hairs. Again I did some sketches of this species during my trip to Chile, 2010, along with many other species.
This painting was one of the lasts I did for the ‘Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile’ Book. I have started to work on my final piece at 2013. It was really difficult to work on this piece on that time, as I was just adapting to my nomad life, and travelling hard. Really hard. So actually, I didn’t have such a place to start and complete such a big piece. No home, so studio, not even a table! So if I would have time, I would wait for it, but deadlines was one after another, and I was homeless! Then I made myself a cosy place in a friend’s kitchen which was getting the best day light! I settled on a table at the corner, and kept working just about 2 months to complete this piece.
After I have completed, I was happy as you can imagine, but another 2 months I couldn’t paint at all. I couldn’t hold neither the brushes, nor pencils. I had a ‘steady-strain’ problem, that my hands was shaking all these months. Painting such big leaf with a very fine pattern requires such controlled brush holding with a very steady hand. I did pay-off with having shaky hands some time afterwards. I remember I was already thinking that ‘okay if my hands never stop shaking, maybe I can start to make more loose painting, less details.. maybe I can still be happy?!’ Well, luckily it didn’t last forever.