Before Christmas I set up a little still life using a bottle of Punt E Mes, and ash tray, an orange and a glass. First I did a few preliminary sketches in watercolour.
Reasonably happy with these – except for the orange which isn’t very orange-like. At this stage not sure which direction I’m going in, but decided to kick off with a fairly traditional approach in watercolour:
What worked? The strong diamond shape of the white cloth; the patter of light and shade on the cloth; the ashtray. What didn’t work? the background – I treated it as ‘background’ and an after thought rather than giving this area the same status as the rest of the picture; the glass needed to be simplified and the glass bottle seems clumsy – over worked.
My next effort was to capture the composition in a tonal sketch to tease out some of the relationships and contrasts. I like the movement in this picture.
Then I did the same composition using oil paint heavily diluted with Liquin. Still not sure where I am going with the picture , but I wanted to build on the sense of movement and lightness.
Still struggling with the ‘background’.
I thought I’d do a monoprint of this composition and then work over it in watercolour. Well, I’m not an expert at printing and the monoprint went a bit haywire I think because I wet the paper; however I managed to rescue something from it, although it wasn’t what I had planned.
Finally I had ago using collage – not a great success.
At this point I’ve decided to leave this composition and move on. Not sure what to – I’ve got a list of thoughts. I’ll have a drink of the Punt E Mes while I decide, (possibly with gin; Russell Harty’s favourite tipple. Cheers).