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I love Tea. Anyone who knows me will tell you that - I even have a T-shirt which states it loud and clear, and being a Brit in America, this probably reinforces the stereotype and is the crass equivalent of wearing a Union Jack on my chest.Oh well.
I also love ceramics, and dramatic lighting, so this was a very fun painting for me. I watched the film 'Girl with a Pearl Earring' a couple of nights ago, and was struck anew by the beauty of that portrait. I had actually already decided to paint the teacup on a black background to really make the white china 'pop', and I've been using a spotlight to create more dramatic shadows on all of these little studies. It was a beautiful moment of synchronicity to watch the film when I was thinking about chiarescuro. I saw an exhibition of Rembrandt's portaits a few years ago at the Tate Gallery in London, and those works stuck in my mind too. I was actually really surprised by the amount of texture in his paintings, and realised that the heavy impasto catches the light and casts a small shadow, boosting the illusion of luminosity.
I've got some bigger paintings in mind, of a different subject but using the same style. These little studies are proving to be useful starting points for the evolution of ideas. My ideas feel more connected and organic - instead of standing in front of a blank canvas thinking "what shall I paint?" I'm starting to know before I finish one what the next one will be, because they're the logical next step (to me!)