Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Still Life Painting: With Ceramics

Above is a photo of my latest painting, which was inspired by my last blog post. After taking lots of photos of my vases full of flowers I decided I wanted to do a still life painting again. I used to do still life paintings all the time - it was my ‘thing’ in fact: flowers in all sorts of vases and different fruit displays. But more and more I’ve been thinking about using my own ceramics as a starting point for the still life. My first attempt at doing this was back in September last year (see here), but this time I wanted to go a bit further with the idea.

So, I used some fruit I had left in my fruit bowl (which happened to be two more pears again!) and arranged them on my kitchen table in a simple display. Then I added one of my espresso cups in the foreground. I’m a big fan of Bonnard so I suppose the elevated table view – looking down on the display - comes from him. And with no more preparation than a quick sketch directly onto canvas, I set to work.

The photo above shows the basic under-painting. Actually I quite like the colour scheme going on here and the roughness of the whole thing - and for a minute I was tempted to keep it and be more ‘abstracted’ with colour and form. But in the end I decided I wanted to use a simple, more naturalistic style, so I kept going. Below is a ‘half-way’ photo where most of the work is mapped out and just the detail (mostly in the foreground cup) was still to be finished. You can also see my paint box and palette in this photo too.

Overall I’m happy with the result. In fact it’s a picture that works extremely well on the wall rather than in a photo or close-to. This probably seems an odd thing to say, but some pictures come to life once they’re hanging on the wall and slightly elevated. Maybe it’s the angle…? Anyway, it was a strange experience to paint my own pots in such detail – in fact focusing so closely on the espresso cup gave me some new thoughts and insight into making ceramics. So I think this idea is something I’m keen to explore and do more of – especially since it feeds back into both mediums!

Finally here’s a photo montage of a previous photo shoot I took of my espresso cups with fruit from August last year – so somewhere the idea must have been in the back of mind all this time!

By the way, you can buy my espresso cups from my shop here and cards and prints of my painting here!

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