#55: The Shy One

#55: The Shy One (Oil on Canvas Panel, 10 x 8 inches)
#55: The Shy One (Oil on Canvas Panel, 10 x 8 inches)

This is the finished version of the underpainting I posted earlier. It is an invented still life and am quite happy with this. I feel it is the type of small, intimate painting that could end up on a bookshelf and be something precious to someone.

From the start I wanted the light in the background – just behind the protagonist – to be the main feature to set the mood. I had a grey blue in mind, like one would find in an old kitchen – now abandoned without roof at the end of a dusty road. A place where there are still small signs that someone had felt there great joy, great sadness, and – right after the guests had left – wonderful solitude perhaps.

I had a mighty battle on to get the background the way I wanted and although I am happy with the outcome, I know there is plenty of room for improvement here. Two things I learned: (a) Prussian Blue is a dangerous friend; and (b) once there is too much medium in the mix, do not try to keep on blending. Rather take a break and return when the paint has set (I didn’t do this!).

As the painting was nearing its end, I saw the shy way in which the small jar peeps out of the shadows, and immediately a poem sprang to mind to go with it. Rilke wrote:

The Solitary Person
Among so many people cozy in their homes,
I am like a man who explores far off oceans.
Days with full stomachs stand on their tables;
I see a distant land full of images.
I sense another world close to me,
perhaps no more lived in than the moon;
they, however, never let a feeling alone,
and all the words they use are so worn.
The living things I brought back with me
hardly peep out, compared with all they own.
In their native country they were wild;
here they hold their breath from shame.
Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. by Robert Bly in Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke
A warm thanks to everyone who encouraged me with comments and likes, especially all of you who take time to follow my blog. I hope you are happy and content.

12 thoughts on “#55: The Shy One

  1. This version has so wonderfully come alive! The light is just right…I love the transition from cupboard, to cup lip, to cup, to shelf. It’s so subtle and says so much. The blue behind and underneath substantiates it all. Really a fine piece. I think you are right about someone treasuring it. Your posts are thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful mood and atmosphere that makes the inanimate object seem filled with meaning and story. And your accounts of how you make your discoveries are always engaging to read. Beautiful poem, too, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

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