One day, on my way to work I decided to make a small detour on my way to the subway and took a walk through one of Lisbon's most charismatic parks. It was a cold February morning, no one was in sight and the sound of morning traffic was subdued by the trees. I was immersed into a natural environment and it almost seemed magical. Suddenly, I passed by some trees that really caught my attention ( image 1 ). They somehow resembled groping hands and with their scale, they looked threatening. I believe it is my love for fantasy that made me see the tree like that and not as mere tree. Several days later I went back and took some photos of these trees and so started the painting "Fresh Meat”.
At the time I still wasn't sure what I wanted to portray. I knew I wanted to have the tree in a "hand-groping pose”. I asked myself: What could make the tree even more threatening? It had to be groping for something innocent, something delicate: a little girl (which later turned into a young woman) lured by the wickedness of the tree. Almost like Old Man Willow from Tolien. I also wanted to introduce the classic "Psycho”-type-on-top-of-the-hill-house to add mood. So now I had the main ingredients and I was ready to get my hands dirty, digitally, that is.
My initial sketches were done on plain A4 photocopy paper and they were quite small. The chosen sketch is actually 2 cm high ( Image 2 ). I scanned it and brought it into Painter where I applied my first layer of color. ( Image 3 ) I love Painter mainly for its ability to apply brushstrokes that mix with underlying colors. This initial painting was done quite quickly to maintain spontaneity and not to overwork it. I just wanted to find the right colors to go along with the mood of the painting, which in this case were autumn colors: yellow greens and orange browns. At this stage I wasn't concerned with details, avoiding working on a particular area of the image for too long. This was done keeping the tip of the brush quite big and working quickly.
While I paint, sometimes I flip the canvas to get a fresh look at what I am working on. ( Image 4 ) I've seen countless tutorials that speak of this technique, but I would like to underline it once more, because it really helps (although I forget to do it most of the time). In this case I ended up liking the flipped version better, and I kept it. At this stage I
also started to introduce some detail especially on the tree which was the main subject. I progressively painted
with smaller brushes, constantly changing opacities.