This painting has been around the block a few times. The original plan was to have a still life which was essentially a vertical composition on a horizontal shaped surface. By using a screen resting on a tabletop as the backdrop (possibly an old map) would be an horizontal element and extend the interest to the left and right of the central objects. Great plan – but it didn’t work.
Why? It’s hard to say. Possibly the extended surface created an expectation of ‘something else’ which wasn’t there. Or the empty space ‘miniaturised’ the central characters. Something didn’t work so a change of plan was needed.
The green curtain was a flash of inspiration. OK, loose the screen and produce a wall behind the table. The table is beside a window which has a curtain, green harmonises with the books and emphasises their antiquity. I liked the angle of the tabletop so the wall had to be created against the back edge of the table. Adjustments were made to the table shape and also the reflected light from the backdrop to accommodate this new arrangement.
The right hand side was another flash of inspiration which I will discuss in the next post.
In case you’re interested the materials used:
The colours are,
Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Ochre,
Raw Umber, Burnt Umber,
Chrome Green Deep, Chrome Green Light,
Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine Blue,
Burnt Sienna, Cadmium Red, Vermillion Red,
and of course Titanium White and Ivory Black.
Linseed Oil, Liquin,
Daler-Rowney Oil Painting Surface.
Hog Hair Bristles mostly filbert shape, No. 8 some bigger, some smaller,
Long bristled nylon, small.