Two pieces of news

One is that I’ve been working on paintings to accompany poems due to be published in a Christmas collection, the other is that I was commissioned to make a painting for the cover of a short story collection by a rather good author. The downside, for now, is that I can’t reveal any of them until the publications are out and the very exciting moment of the cover reveal is announced by the book author. So for now, a place-holder:

The next piece of significant news is that I’ve somehow completed the first of my OCA level 2 painting modules which, while I’m waiting for forma assessment and having a bit of a break, has given me time to move back a little to a more classical style. I’m not good at this and, as much of the course work leans towards the expressionistic and semi abstract, has me concerned I’ll land a BA without being able to paint a nose.

So I had a go at a jug, obviously.

The objective was to find volume in objects rather than expressively indicate them. This is not likely ever to be my style but I’d really like to be able to make a passable effort.

I chose a photo in Aristides’s book on painting and manufactured a similar composition on the table next to my easel. Instead of a white ceramic jug, I had a blue one; the loaf was substituted by a pile of stand-in flannels, and the egg was represented by a small jar which wouldn’t stay still or try to be egg shaped.

In the end, I had a jar, a ‘beaten copper’ jug, a red onion, and some nasturtiums of which only the nasturtiums actually exist and were never in the room.

Here’s the process.

Charcoal drawing on varnished card, isolating tonal areas.

This is the final iteration – probably! – with paint scrubbed off with a flannel, blended and moved around for shade and highlights, and details added to the leaves, flowers and the onion with acrylic pen.
This detail is unavoidably shiny and so there is a cast of reflected light on the surface that is difficult to avoid. Nevertheless, I’m relatively happy with the outcome, especially considering there was not one element of it in the room!

Aristides, J. 2016. Lessons in Classical Painting. Watson Guptill Publications. Reference photograph P 44.

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