Colourful enamelware is a favourite still life painting subject for me. However before the painting can start, the items to be painted have to be carefully assembled. Good arrangement of the items, the shadows and the highlights give the focal point to the painting and make for a satisfying composition. The main idea of good composition is to hold the viewer’s eye as long as possible.
Assembling the enamelware
For one of the paintings in this post I have shown the assembly of the pieces under the spotlight. I move the pieces around and then come back to the easel to see what it looks like. Add a different piece, adjust the light, adjust the folds in the fabric and after each step I go back to see what it looks like when viewed from the easel. This process can take the whole morning, but it has to be done thoroughly, otherwise problems will emerge part way through the painting. Only after lots of checking am I ready to take up the charcoal and draw the image onto my painting board. One of the colourful enamelware pieces is the main subject. Any included fruit or flowers are added to the setup later, when the painting is well on its way.
You will notice that in each of the attached paintings there is one or two enamelware pieces with a long handle. These diagonals are invaluable in steering the eye around the painting. For me, long-handled ladles, dippers, spoons and sieves are carefully-collected pieces because of this ability.
I find still life painting very satisfying. Just the carefully-arranged objects, the spotlight, the canvas and myself. Switch on the spotlight and the tussle begins!
My next exhibition of paintings will be held at the Metcalfe Gallery, Brisbane Institute of Art, from 27th August to the 8th September, 2021. Please send me a note and I’ll email you a reminder two weeks before the start.