I write to you from afar — I guess that doesn’t really quite make sense on the internet does it?.  Suffice it to say I’m not at my usual post, I write a dispatch “from the field,” and moreover I’m doing it with dial-up.

This picture above was something I found wedged inside one of my drawing notebooks.  I’d forgotten all about it.  But here it is.  It’s a little still life “painted” using artist’s crayons on linen.  I’ve both seen and read about some of Edouard Manet’s pastels that he did on canvas and decided to make this picture on cloth just to be doing the same thing Manet did.  It goes along with my theory of walking a while inside the old masters’ shoes.

After having made trial of it myself, I’m afraid I cannot report back as to why Manet chose to do pastel on cloth as though it were a painting.  In my own picture, perhaps the chief effect is that the colors stand out against the warm brown-grey of the linen, which one must admit is kind of nice.  But overall I suppose there’s no advantage in doing pastel on cloth (rather than on paper) that is immediately obvious.  It’s one of those things to do, I guess, “just because.”

So “just because” — here  it is.  Nothing ventured nothing gained.  The objects are ones that held a special warm place in my heart.  The aluminum cup is one my mother used to measure sugar.  Its battered interior catches all kinds of silvery glimmers of light.  The other principle object is a bottle of mercurachrome, once used in quainter times to treat small cuts.

You can make a still life of the most unpreposessing things.

2 thoughts on “Dialing for Still life

  1. The edges of the cloth where the weave shows have a certain appeal that I don’t think you could get with paper. I remember those bottles – and bottles of Milk of Magnesia, ugh!

  2. It’s strange to think that one has to explain what mercurachrome is — or more properly — was. It’s not a pleasant discovery. Time sweeps over one like a gale force wind!
    Hope your many folds are going well. Here’s an artist whose confrontation with folds might give you courage — or a fright! — depending upon how your own painting goes.


    In any case, bon courage! And onward. Keep folding.

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