The Princess Of Kavos
This painting was a bigger challenge for me. I had not worked with acrylics at such a large scale before; goodness, until six months ago I had not painted anything longer than my finger. The canvas is nearly two feet high and nearly a foot wide, and I think it has come out fairly striking. The colours blend naturally when you blink your eyes and the tears turn the whole thing into a pasty of abstract; the lilac opal of the earrings, the wink of blue set in her forehead, the striking fangs of red on the face. I cannot find the image that I worked from, but I removed the blood that originally iced her lips and her cloak; the unpredictability of the paint meant that it could have ended up merely looking like a mistake that I was too lazy to clean, rather than a symbol of what she is.
For those of you who do not recognise her, the subject is ”Mononoke-hime”, the titular savantess of what is, in my opinion, the best Studio Ghibli film of the lot. I think I maintained her anger and her girlishness, combined with a muscularity and unconsidered ornament.
The size of it combined with the weave of the cheap canvas in an annoying fashion; it was hard to get an even coverage of paint and tone, which led to a streakiness in certain places, as well as those constant constellations of minuscule hollows that plop up, unbidden, after the paintbrush has passed over them. Fucking hell! I hated those little hollows. I must have gone over the fabric of her dress three or four times. Her skin, also, took on the umber of a Mediterranean summer Vandal, but as I mellowed it with a peach over the peach stone beneath, she instead found a flush that was more realistic. I have said before that Ghibli artwork, (at least, animated and foreground character artwork) is defined by clear boundaries of colour, and monofloored shading. I still maintained those boundaries, but due to the imperfections of my technique and the surface, within those boundaries were the whorls that come with physical material, and the stains that emotion bring to our arms. She looks a little more like she has just run from the treeline, and how, knowing the character, can this be a bad thing?
”Mononoke-hime” is the last of the Ghibli paintings that I will be attempting, at least for the moment; my next project is a three-dimensional one, a tea-caddy that is need to a diorama of ocean, and after that, some of my own characters, the Paladin Of Exchange and others of his wandering population.