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: