Lilliput Mountain

painting process

the secret life of trees

painting processClaire Hansen

I started by looking a lot at paintings by my hero Diana Sudyka and thinking deeply about what I love about her wonderful work.  I am so struck by Diana’s use of black, it is so bold so strong and capitalises on the strengths of gouache as a medium. I also love that she paints trees and animals of the forest in such unique way. 

The forest is so special to me. I love trees so much that it hurts to consider them being harmed in any way. I started painting without our any real idea how the painting would turn out. I just thought, I want to paint a bit like Diana, I am going to use black and have birds and animals. 

When I came to painting the ground I was completely lost, so I just started to experiment and play and work with my mistakes. What started to emerge was a dream like soft mossy and fungi wonderland in miniature. 

Within the paint I searched for translucence, luminescence and transcendence in the fragile forest floor and ended up creating an environment not designed for humans. That is because we are too big heavy and loud for this kind of forest. This is a delicate place. A realm of barely there mushrooms, tiny flowers where even the fallow deer steps through gently.

The central tree reaches up the the heavens, roots into the earth, she has roots and wings but her branches also curl  downward to gently touch the fern fronds and stroke the mother deer. I feel that the deer is seeking a safe place to foal, and that she has found it, in this place where the white wallaby and white echidna also find sanctuary.

The forest ravens, butcher bird and the tiny tit are nestled in the tree. I hope that the birds connect us to our own feelings of spirit because our view of the forest is also on wing.

I have decided to call this painting "forest floor" which is pretty modest description of the wonderland that coats our forests.