[Edit:] Thank you so much for the feature, and to everyone who has taken a look at this painting. I hope it has been enjoyed. I just put together a little summary of the references to other artworks which are contained within this painting. [link]
Watercolours on Arches coldpress. By far the longest and most complex watercolour I've ever attempted.
Something that isn't an illustration!!! Shock and amazement. I forgot that I had painted this until I was making a meme of my art of 2010. Some hefty amount of hours went into it. In some ways I am disappointed with it as a finished image. But then I think painting this was a necessary step for me to stretch my technical skills and experiment with large compositions. I learnt a lot. I could do this better second time around.
As for the content, this is a very dear friend of mine, whom I travelled to see in Cambridge to draw her from life, which formed part of the reference for this. Also though, the light in her room was captivating, and I took some terrible tiny pictures on my phone as my camera turned out to be out of batteries. The view out the window is the view from my own room though, over the rooftops of Oxford (I miss that view a lot). The objects in the image are references to symbolist art and expressionist art which holds a lot of meaning for me, namely Gauguin and Schiele. The small statue is Gauguin's Oviri "Savage" and I tried to emphasize the pose it shares with Alice. There is also an origami crane with an arrow through it's wing - a reference to the Crane Wife folk tale from Japan.
I initially intended this to be a more distorted, clearly symbolist piece, exploring places and dreams and sexuality. But when I began it I got carried away with the realism and it became more of a study in colour and light. Watercolours are a difficult medium with which to invent off the cuff, and I think I need a greater grounding in realism to use them for more imaginative compositions.