This is my latest painting for Galerie Daniel Maghen. I finished it last Tuesday, and I'm not sure exactly how long it took to complete other than I felt I spent longer on this piece than anticipated.
The scene is taken from 'The Wind In The Willows', when the carol singing mice are invited into Mole's house for supper. Soon they realise Mole is low on food, so two young mice are sent out with a basket to fetch more vittles for their evening feast. Here you can see the mice have returned and their fellow creatures are excitedly dishing out the basket's contents.
Normally I'm very confident when it comes to these cosy interior scenes, however this time I really struggled to keep everything warm and slightly gloomy (if that's the right word), especially when I was painting the blue welsh dresser. If you're not careful, a blue dresser can swiftly turn green when painting in watercolour.
The gouache highlights certainly helped to sharpen well lit edges, such as an ear, whisker or ceramic mug. The candlelight was deliberately kept to watercolour and using the white of the paper to create a bright glow. If you try to introduce gouache into something so bright it can look a bit flat and even grey as the opague paint doesn't always reflect natural light as effectively as watercolour paper.
Out of interest, most of the items in the kitchen are taken from Avebury Manor in Wiltshire. The kitchen table, dresser and stove are very similar to the ones in this painting. It's always much easier to draw something straight from reality than invent your own objects, and quite often you spot something that you would never have imagined too.