Diana Probst, Cambridge Artist

Still Life: Mask and Greasepaint

The time I recently spent in the studio with a young artist was punctuated by the studio’s opening throes, and the odd bit of DIY. However, I did my own painting as well.

Charcoal study of long-nosed mask and pot containing white substanceCharcoal can give a ghostly, moonlit effect to whatever it is used to represent. In this case, I went with a simple study of a mask, a pot, and a coin. The image I produced was a side-effect of the painting I created, and so once it was in an approximately finished state I set it aside for use as a tool. It had told me where the dark parts were going to go, and how the finished picture would look with the lighting as it was set up. The shadow under the left cheek was going to have to be deeper than it really was, and the reflection on the work surface was going to have to be lifted in key (that is, made lighter) so that the mask was not nestled in too much darkness.

A curtain is the background for a wooden stage on which a mask, a pot of pale greasepaint, and a pill are in a tight group.In colour, and with the shapes strengthened, I could see that the pot had to hold something more important to the mask than just a powder puff. It became grease paint, and the coin became a pill much like an aspirin. The whole thing took on a show-must-go-on overtone as I finished it, and so I turned the backdrop into a curtain rather than a green cloth, and polished the stage a little by making sure the reflections were bright.

I think this is better than the painting L.F.S. made, and which I covered in the past few posts, but there is an obvious reason for that; I have been painting for far longer than she has. Each painting I complete is a reminder to me that a year into the future I will be looking back and thinking my older work could be tweaked. It is definitely interesting to look back on my earlier work now.