I have no idea where the idea of a Moth Woman came from. The idea just popped into my head. My only intention when sitting down at my art table was to tackle goache again. As someone educated in 1980s Scotland, my lesson in resilience involved the anecdote about Robert the Bruce and the spider and the mantra of “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” So that is my attitude to goache. I am going to spider it and keep on trying until it is no longer enjoyable.
This Moth Woman was also an attempt by me to try a completely different approach to layering my materials. Inspired by Sue Clancy, who is always so supportive and generous with her creative guidance, I used watercolour pencils for my initial sketching. When I then applied white gouache, it picked up the pigments from the pencils and added some warmth and created a range of white hues. I then went back into some areas of the illustration with the watercolour pencils in order to darken and punch up some forms and shapes. I then added some more white gouache to some areas and added spatters of gouache to the lower portion of the page just for a bit more visual interest.
This was a completely different methodology to me. I am all about that tight line work and black ink and there is none of the latter and very little of the former in this illustration. I think this might be my most successful experiment with gouache so far because I felt the consistency of the paint was more like it should be so I am going to keep trying to get to grips with that medium. I will also use the watercolour pencils from time to time for the sketch layer too in future. It was really valuable to step outside my comfort zone and break out of the rut of my own work groove.