Sunday, 5 September 2010

A Plate and Two Pears

A couple of weeks ago I found a spare Sunday to paint at last! I decided to spend the day on a simple painting to get back into the swing of things: nothing too complicated or detailed. Still life studies are always useful to get the ideas flowing, especially since they’re easy to set up with anything that happens to be lying around the house. So for a bit of inspiration I chose this little pear sitting on one of my own hand-thrown plain white plates.

After a couple of sketches on paper, I decided to plunge straight into painting on canvas without too much fussing with composition. The canvas is a deep edge 16 x 12 inch. I usually draw a rough outline in charcoal to begin with and then apply a general ‘back colour’ with a big sloshy brush. At this stage I still wasn’t sure what the scheme was going to be, so I just blocked on a base layer using a rough mix of blue cobalt, raw umber and titanium white. I find that blocking the whole canvas with one or two background colours helps to smooth the textured surface which otherwise might show tiny bits of bare white through the painting – it’s so annoying if you miss a bit!

As I got going I realized that my mood was to go VERY simple: not only with the subject (just two pears on a plain white plate), but to be very minimal with the style and colour range too. So the result is quite stylized: an ‘idea’ of a plate and two pears I suppose. It’s quite a calming picture with all that soothing green and because of the large blank, flat areas I think it has an open, spacious feel too. Anyway, I’ve hung it on the wall above the kitchen table for the time being - and it may even turn out to be the beginning of a little series. Here's a close-up cropped shot of the final draft.

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