Museums and art galleries are the essential option for a tour of London. Especially when it’s raining!
Our first stop on a 30 painting Tour of London is the Natural History Museum, a Victorian Edifice built to reflect its content, an overkill of decoration. I’ve always admired the Victorian ethos that if something needs to be made you should always try and make it look pretty as well. Even if nobody will ever see the thing. On that score the Natural History Museum never fails to hit the mark.
In our culture of restricted colour palettes and minimalist design it can be an assault on the senses. It’s almost as if the Victorians were afraid of people getting bored. The 3-minute attention span approach we are all too familiar with is nothing new it would seem.
Buildings like this are designed to encourage you to look to the heavens, literally.
And You have to love looking up when a sight like this greets you!
For this painting I wanted to recreate that sense of awe that come with a first visit to the Natural History Museum. On encountering its vaulted ceilings, stairs and labyrinthine passageways. It’s quite dark in reality so I needed to emphasise the mass of colour and decoration. The patterns in particular. Many are inspired by organic growths like snakes, vines and vertebrae.
Patterns and repetition are recurring themes in my work. Like with Lego, I’m fascinated with how identical components are assembled to create something new and spectacular.
Creation: Masking fluid is painted onto watercolour paper to create an image. This is covered with a watercolour wash and covered with clingfilm. The picture is further developed using acrylic inks once the film is removed. The masking is removed after several layers are added and allowed to dry. Revealing the final picture.
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