'Crane screen', 2019
(oil and copper leaf on board, 4 ft)
This is a commission piece. It was for a client who wanted something bold for her bathroom but was open to suggestion. Since I usually do realistic oil painting I wanted to experiment with doing something different. I love Japanese art - especially Japanese gold leaf screens - so I had the idea for a large painting on panel that would look like a single section from one of these screens. It ended up being about 4 ft tall.
After lots of research and sketching I decided on traditional red-crowned cranes for the subject matter and painted them sleeping, courting, landing, taking off from the water and flying. I then chose copper leaf for its reddish tinge and tin leaf so that it wouldn't look too glitzy and painstakingly stuck down the individual sheets around the painted parts for the main background colour.
I love metal leaf (despite the fact it's tricky and messy to work with) because of the reflective effect it has in different light and at different times of day. It never looks the same from two angles.