Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Still Life, Roses and Reflections: Day 8

Unpainted white jug with internal copper paint, on canvasToday was a really, really difficult day. The copper jug was always going to be hard to do. It’s a mixture of an imperfect mirror, a cylinder, an overall colour, and a lot of drapery and complicated reflection. Ignore the slight distortion of the iPhone camera here. The shape of the jug opening is better than that, and I’ve improved bits of it.

I started with the inside, which had a limited range of colours, and an even texture, like it had been polished round and round instead of beaten, or had had a lathe used on the inside. How it got there does not matter so much; it was relatively easy, and meant I could try out my colour mixes. I was using a different red to normal, a darker yellow, and then ochre and ultramarine and white. I didn’t want to make the copper too bright, as there is already so much going on in the painting.

Copper pot with a reflected, half painted chain, oil on canvasThe outside of the pot has several challenges. The handle needs to look like it comes out slightly towards us instead of lying flat. The edges need to conform to foreshortened ellipses, which are notoriously hard to get right. The colours all have to be pinkish without being pink. It’s like painting a highly reflective salmon steak, if it was cut by a really obsessive chef who likes circles.

I did the drapery under the hanging chain before doing the chain. There was no way to do it the other way around. The handle’s reflection also goes under the chain, but I cut that off rather than painting further up, as it gets distorted and lost, and I didn’t want to make it too clear. Painting the front allowed me to adjust the rim, which solved a problem, but I did not manage to get the highest level of highlights on. There was just too much paint for the really light colours to take, so I will go back and do those, probably when I do the watch and the circular bulbs on the coffee pot. I managed to do the top of the watch, to bind it into the copper, and then I called it a day.

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