"Teacup with Red Napkin and Purple Saucer"
[Note: This post was originally published on September 10, 2022, several days after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II]
This week’s featured painting is “Teacup with Red Napkin and Purple Saucer” from 2022. It is done with oil on panel, and measures 5 x 5 inches.
The passing of the Queen this week moved me more than I expected it to, and afterwards I spent some hours on Instagram immersed in the outpouring of pictures that individuals and institutions were posting about her and her extraordinary life.
Among those many fascinating and beautiful images were those of the actual crowns held as part of the British Crown Jewels.
One that caught my eye in particular was the crown made for her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1937.
Although very beautiful, and doubtless the epitome of the jeweler’s art, I found it interesting not for what it was, but for what it was not – gold – the crown is made entirely from platinum.
Platinum is certainly rare, and at times it is much more valuable than gold. Like gold, it has many practical uses beyond jewelry. But it also looks like many other metals, at least to my untrained eye.
It occurred to me that this particular crown could have been made from stainless steel or polished aluminum or even tin, and I would be none the wiser.
But gold is different.
Gold doesn’t look like anything else, and nothing else really looks like gold. There’s an inner fire to it that sets it apart and gives it an aesthetic quality that far transcends its worth as a commodity.
In fact, many ancient cultures valued it not so much for its rarity, but for its great beauty and mystical connection to light – the Incas called it the “tears of the sun”.
These thoughts were percolating in my mind as I was photographing this week’s painting, and I realized that many of these paintings actually have gold in them – as the trim on the teacups, porcelain, even some drinking glasses.
Like anything else, I try to paint this gold as well and as beautifully as I am able. But next time I paint it, I think I will be even more conscious of trying to capture some of that inner fire.
And, I hope that the next time you see a piece of gold, you are able to take a moment and appreciate how simply beautiful it is.
Canvas prints of this painting are available. To see more, click the blue button below.