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Coming to assignment 2, my decision was to try a found still life, something I had tried for the first time during this section of the course and enjoyed.  I also wanted to try to include some of the elements I have learnt during part 2.

Set up a still life in the corner of a room or table- somewhere that ives surrounding context.

Using the breakfast scene in my kitchen I began with a few sketches to determine angles and viewpoint.  I started this with lots of photographs just to explore possibilities, digital cameras giving me the option of flicking through tons of possibilities before starting to draw. Having narrowed that down, I sat and drew three choices.  Discarding the camera and looking at the colours  and major tones as well.

The scene offered a fairly limited pallet which I wanted, however i wanted this in order to see if I could include lots of colour within that.  I have recently discovered Pierre Bonnard and am fascinated by the amount of colour in his work.  A Red wall is never just red but a mix of colours and this I had just started to touch on in my interior exercise.  By this point I had managed to find one book in the library ,  Bonnard Colour and Light (no date) Tate Publishing.



Sketchbook deciding which view

Thinking through the sketches

  • The light from the window will effect shadows
  • The tablecloth is shiny and has a pattern – how will I deal with this
  • Is there enough interest.
  • Looking at it from high above flattens the objects and I felt less drawn into the scene. this might work better as a print/abstract.
  • The landscape view meant adding another object to fill the shape better.

I decided on the landscape view and tried the colours quickly with oil pastels.

Next I used my oil pastels to look at colour showing through and where the light would hit from the window.


A quote I liked from the book on Bonnard

This is the first time I have used a gesso primed board for working on.  Makes quite a difference, much easier.  I began by painting the whole thing a cadmium yellow in acrylic paint, I had tried this a couple of times in the exercises and the quick drying is a bonus and I am enjoying colour showing through slightly.  I also thought this may tie the whole thing together.


Putting the paint in in streaks/splodges so as not to get a flat colour anywhere if I can help it.  After putting in the garden in the window I scratched the leaded light window panes in, I liked the effect but didn’t feel it quite strong enough and so scraped a grey through he scratches.



I felt this was better, just that tad more defined but not anywhere near the detail I might have tried in the past.


Adding the table cloth pattern and sorting our the jug I now had most of the painting in a wet state and it needed to be left for a while.  Still to be done some darkening of tones, there was not enough contrast between the wall and table cloth. The plants need to go in the pots and if possible can I sort out the bowl…its the wrong shape


Leaving it for a couple of days will also help me as I have developed this as a very good way of seeing what needs changing.


Final Painting

Coming back to it I beefed up the contrast  between the table cloth and wall which I think has emphasised the light coming through the window.  I managed to  reshape the bowl and added the plants and shadows were refined a bit.


From the feedback on my first assignment I have tried throughout this part of the course to follow some of my tutors pointers.

  • Keep experimenting – I have tried different styles and techniques on each exercise.
  • Persist with oils – pretty much all my work in Part two has been oils, and I am beginning to understand them a little better, they do require patience, but this is rewarded by the colour stability and trueness (if there is such a word) against acrylic which changes as it drys.  By the blending ability too.
  • Use found still lifes – I prefer the naturalness of this.
  • Be Bold – mix colour on the surface – I am starting to do this more, oils make it possible. I have also been using some scratching, and my fingers for blending.

This piece is a definite change to my first work, there is more texture, everywhere.  Colours are still strong but softer, not so stark.  I have moulded the shapes with colours not just shading. This feels like a sunny morning as I have captured the light from the window, If it has to evoke a mood I would say expectation ……cereals not in that bowl yet but the sun is shining its going to be a good day :).

Finally I wondered if I had looked at this composition differently what would it have looked like…..