I chose the objects for this still life as an exercise in experimenting with the limited palette, in this case: Flake White, Yellow Ochre, Light Red, Raw Umber and Black. Ideally I'd have explored these colours by means of a portrait but, with friends always so busy, I thought this was a good 'second best'. It also allowed me to try working with different textures: the cloth covered book, the printed pages, the translucent stone jar and the steel, gold and silver of the knife, pen and tankard.
The composition is quite pleasing, but it was a struggle to begin with. Initially there was nothing in
There are heaps of things for me still to learn about rendering textures and depth, but I was fairly pleased with the silver and alabaster. I was tempted to make more of the printed pages of the book, but on reflection I'm very glad I didn't. At the stage I was at at the time this was painted, it would have ruined the unity of effect. A couple of years on and I'd still be extremely nervous about putting in more than the merest indication of the text.