Sunday, November 8, 2015

String of Pearls

This still life was suggested by the silver jewellery box with the sumptuous red lining. I knew I had a red cloisonné vase among my bric-a-brac, and an ornate perfume bottle with a pearly stopper. I borrowed the string of pearls to complete the line-up.
The initial sketch was fairly detailed - even to the extent of noting the values within the pearls.

I start to fill in the underpainting with hard pastels - Rembrandt and Caran d'Ache, and Carbothello Pencils. The underpainting will inform the finished work and serves as a roadmap for it, but they certainly not the hues that will be apparent.

A close-up on the pearls shows the sketchy ones to the right, and on the left the refining of the image; there are at least five colours painted into the pearls! I used Schminke neutral greys, which are quite warm, and a light ochre pencil. Blending was achieved with a fine colour shaper.

On the left the pearls are still unfinished, and the silver box not fully defined. On the right, the pearls are pretty well complete, and the design on the box clarified. I have indicated my horizon line too. The dark reds for the jar and box lining were dark carmine from Caran d'Ache, and madder lake by Schminke; the darkest red in the fold of the velvet was "lies de vin" from Henri Roché.

String of Pearls © Niall O'Neill
Final image shows the background filled in, and the reflections in the foreground were completed. The reflected pearls are much cooler in tone than the main image. 
Note there are three distinct values in the shadow area under the jewellery box :-
1. the cast shadow of the box gets most ambient light.
2. the cast shadow of the lid is effectively a shadow ON a shadow!
3. The reflection of the underside of the lid gets the least light and so is the darkest dark.