Look around for simple still life arrangement that just happens to be there… Notice the important linear aspects… etc
I chose our kitchen window sill which has an ever-changing assortment of objects. My eye was caught initially by a stained glass panel that I made ages ago, a round glass bottle and a small glass jug.
After doing a few exploratory sketches I decided to take out the glass jug because I had noticed that light through the glass bottle was creating lovely wiggly lines and shapes and I didn’t want to obscure this. I photographed my first two sketches (pen and watercolour ,then Conté crayons) and cropped them to help me think about composition which I then simplified. My third sketch was a pencil drawing to test the composition and look more closely at the light and shadow.
Then I drew out the picture in paint on to an orange ground chosen because I thought some small elements of orange showing through to reflect the orange of the glass panel might contribute in some way. And then I added colour and finished the painting fairly quickly by my standards.
- I’m reasonably satisfied with the use of line, which is essentially what this exercise is about, and also the distorted shapes showing through the glass bottle.
- There are some interesting negative shapes and a geometrical, almost abstract feel which pleases me.
- Overall I feel the objects chosen and the composition work.
- The overall picture might be quite enigmatic in terms of the viewer figuring out what is going on here but I don’t mind that.
- I feel this still life arrangement has further potential to develop into a more abstract image and to experiment more with line, shape and colour so as study for something further I’m pleased with it.
What doesn’t work so well?
- It feels like a picture of two halves – one in full colour and one monochrome. Does this matter? I’m not sure.
- I’m not great at painting glass. the shoulders of the bottle have become a bit fussy. This composition has a glass window, a stained glass panel and a glass bottle. The window and the panel don’t look very glass-like.
- I would have liked a much more vibrant turquoise in the stained glass but despite all the colour mixing I was not sure how to achieve this. The orange underneath may not have been the best ground in this respect.
- While I tried to work quickly and keep it simple I may have over-complicated some elements. My husband, David, preferred the painting at an earlier stage (see above) before I’d put further texture into blocks of colour.