Sunday, April 17, 2016

Urn and Macaroons

One of my collection of decorative (and cheap) porcelain urns, jars, soup tureens, jugs and tea-pots was looking for an idea to add to its appeal, and I happened to buy a packet of macaroon biscuits that were coloured white, yellow, pink, green, and brown. So I thought that they would provide the colour notes to a fairly monochrome jar.

This is the outline and first infilling of underpainting in hard pastels. The background colour varies only because of the changing light when photographed.

It is really unfortunate that the medium gray Pastelmat shows such variation - that's Irish light (and Irish weather) for you, especially in winter.

In this pair I have added some of the final background shadow so I can calculate the contrast I wish to achieve.

Here I have taped off the effective area on the support to the finished size of 40 x 55 cms. This is a requested minimum size for submission to the 2016 Pastel Biennial at Suzhou, China.

Background filled in - Sennelier darkest blue at back, shelf more grey and darkest green. I used mostly Rembrandt and Schminke in this, with the pink from Blue Earth. The most unusual brand was the green macaroon, for which I used the green from Artisan Pastellier based in Albi, France.

Urn and Macaroons © Niall O'Neill
UPDATE 5.5.2016
Gail Sibley chose this pastel in her April 2016 selection on her How to Pastel blog, and read the painting beautifully. Here is her commentary:
Deep beautiful darks set off the beauty of this ceramic container. Its carved flowers and intricate design are meticulously recreated with light and shadow. There’s a subtlety of colour not evident on a cursory viewing and it’s a treat to discover these – like the pink in the rose handle, the yellow in the carved piece in the side facing us, the pale blue reflected near the bottom of the tureen, the pale green gleam on the smooth surface of the cover. These colours are repeated in the more obvious macaroons. There’s a lovely contrast between the cold hardness of the porcelain and the soft delectable cookies. A delicious similarity also exists between the smooth and textured parts of both subjects. The off-centre placement of the main event plus the rather daring dominance of the dark background engenders curiosity about the set-up – where is this arrangement to be found and who will be lucky enough to eat those yummy looking macaroons?!

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