Since it’s my turn this week, and we at least were meant to be going on holiday, quite a lot of the work has had to be done in advance. The plan is to do four standard size oils, three of which were suitable for preparatory charcoal sketches; while the fourth, a sunset, is more about colour than tone or line, so I decided to work straight onto the canvas.
The three subjects, all done quickly in charcoal on cartridge paper, in descending order, were.
Firstly, a view into a mirror showing over-lapping planes with a rather sweet cat with still life on a ledge or table in front. It is very loosely based on a painting by Richard Eurich playing all sorts of sophisticated games that I can’t about the nature of the picture plane (what might really be in front or behind of what, what effect the colour has on the appearance of recession etc etc). Is the cat in the mirror in front of the painted window etc? Bonnard talked about the primacy of colour over form: as you will see my painting contains quite a lot of colour but very little form.
Secondly, an African elephant looking dangerously grumpy. There was a vaguely similar one in Country Life but very carefully executed by a near photo-realist artist with a degree of skill I couldn’t possibly match. Mine looks more like a cross between Babar and Dumbo. As you will see in subsequent posts, he also at one stage acquired blue legs and tummy before reverting to elephant colours.
Thirdly, something slightly weird and very vaguely based on a picture of two distinguished bronzes by Barbara Hepworth. Mine look like two drunken triffids or perhaps petrol pumps, torn between menace and gluttony. At the oil sketch stage they actually got worse, although there was a subsequent improvement.
I keep reminding myself that the only way is up.