Today’s Painting for You: Three on a Ledge
Today’s painting for you:
“Three on a Ledge”, Acrylic on Panel, 5×6 inches, 2014 (sold)
Today’s a bright and sunny day before the holiday, so I thought I’d show you bright and sunny painting.
This is one of the first pieces I did with a sky background – with the intent of bringing elements of the landscape into a still life painting. This fits right in with a narrow but intriguing branch of still life painting going back nearly to the beginning of the genre. Some of my favorite examples come from the great Ambrosius Bosschaert (1573 – 1621).
As you can see, he set the bar very high, indeed.
One of the challenges of this arrangement is that it almost always involves two distinct sources of light; sunlight for the landscape and an internal source for the still life. Although the “internal” source Bosschaert used was almost certainly bright sunlight coming from a studio window – which gives the light in his painting a highly unified feel – he did make one curious choice.
The sky in his painting would have certainly reflected a little bit of blue light back into the shadows cast by the vase and shells. He definitely would have been aware of this, but he also made a deliberate choice to suppress that reflection and paint the shadows as they would appear in a studio interior. Perhaps he felt that the painting needed that stronger shadow to be effective.
For the time being, my interest in this particular body of work has played itself out; I’m refocused on other kinds of paintings and projects. I also wasn’t uniformly pleased with a number of the paintings in that group. Some of them ended up in my studio’s storage room, where they’ll probably stay.
This little painting, though, was a success, and it captures a lot of what I wanted to do with this type of work. And looking at Bosschaert’s jaw-dropping masterpiece only fires me up to rise to that level.
So, I think I’ll probably revisit this kind of painting in the future. For now, though, back to work on other things.
I hope you enjoy it!