Oil on panel, 5 by 7 inches
This little painting is up for auction until 10PM UK time on the 10th October.
I’ve painted this little jug so many times now I think it’s a part of me.
So you’d think I’d get faster at painting it, but I think this was the longest I’ve ever spent on it. In fact, this little painting, despite its diminutive size, took me a little over a week to complete.
Partly I think that was because the values took some work to get right. from the highlight on the jug to the darkest shadows, the value range in the subject was well outside the range of values we can reach with paint.
So I spent much longer than usual on the drawing out and underpainting stage.
Here it is towards the end of the underpainting stage:
With a combination of painting, rubbing out with turps and sanding back, I finally arrived at what I thought was a good value balance. I also spent a lot longer than usual trying to make sure everything was in the right place.
The perspective was tricky too. I deliberately left that right vertical at an angle, because I wanted to emphasise the immediacy of the impression, as if you’d just turned around and noticed this little jug hiding in the shadows.
A lot of my work has a feeling of quiet. I have a feeling that might just be because that’s when I’m happiest: n peace and quiet, just getting on my work.
So that’s where the title for this piece comes from.
I hope that, despite the amount of time I spent working on it, it keeps some sense of immediacy and informality, perhaps spontaneity.
To handle the values, I keyed everything down from the highlight on the jug. I also established my darkest darks early, and tried to keep my mid values true to the subject.
The lights are mostly painted opaquely and without medium. The darkest shadows were built up with two or three glazes, using Natural Pigments Balsam essential oil medium. Since I’m working on a rigid panel, it should be safe from future cracking. I also use very little of the medium.
I think sometimes, when people glaze, they use a lot of medium, maybe too much. The way I use it is to get a little on the end of my finger and spread it out as thinly as I possibly can on the panel.Then I paint into it.
You can also paint soft edges out over a dried later this way. And when the painting is finished, the overall effect is fairly even.
this painting, perhaps more than most I do, will benefit from a good quality varnish in a few month’s time. It will really bring out the luminosity of the darks and the chroma of the strong reds in the apple.
Best wishes and thanks for reading,
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