So to add a touch of complexity I added a small vertical 5mm wide MDF board (covered in white paper) to the back of my still-life box. This casts a small vertical shadow and plays havoc with reflected shadows, You’ll see this in lots of my still-lifes.
They always say the horizontal / skyline should be off-centre. (Actually, you cana do what you like if you cna get away with it visually!) I often go a step further and place all the action (small detail) in more or less one half of the painting, and keep the other half very understated. That little vertical piece of wood ensures that the horizon line changes. In this case it is flat and just the shadow is different because the salver was on a brick covered with a white cloth. (scroll up to the first photo)
By the way, all these extra black lines and shadows are only here for an explanation – this is what I see in my mind’s eye when planning the composition.
You can see that the shadows are really strong, and I have to make sure they don’t overwhelm the painting. We often tune shadows out and are not very aware of them, so shadows can seem quite weird.
The spotlight has made a curved light, which I have straightened. The cloth crease (which I ironed on purpose) casts a faint shadow that is slightly diagonal. The spoon is also on a diagonal. I only put it in the salver because, on the previous painting, it was put in front of it.
The foreground is divided into a horizontal plane and a vertical plane as the cloth folds over and I added a bold black line where there was drawn threadwork on the hem of the cloth.
The next step is to roughly paint in the shadows in burnt umber – I rub over them so that they are just suggested. I will often treat the shadows on the object using Ultramarine Blue (so that they are differentiated from the background shadows). However, this salver is bright blue and I want to make sure its loos transluscent and bright, so I rubbed blue over the whole object. I have to proceed very carefully for the shadows.
In the next post, I’ll go through my next steps to doing the painting.