I spent the afternoon minding the shop at Carnegie Antiques today and decided to paint a little sketch of a table of glassware that has recently arrived at the shop.
Judi, the shop owner, had organized this table of decorative glassware last week; when I was in I was enchanted by all the colors and shapes and patterns. Remembering it, I decided the next time I was in I would paint that table of glass.
Unlike other subjects, glass is translucent, both having a shape and allowing other shapes to be seen through it. It has a color but other colors can be seen through it as well, modified by the color of the glass. And instead of casting a deep shadow, it casts a pool of colored light on a table top.
This painting is about 10″ x 12″ in chalk pastel on Wallis sanded pastel paper; you can see the color of the paper in the lower left corner and here and there throughout the painting. I painted it in about 90 minutes, then touched up a few things when I got home with pastel colors I didn’t have in my little traveling box. There are four different shades of blue here, two shades of green and three of the cranberry glass. My traveling box is a cheap set of mostly primaries and secondaries, perhaps an extra shade of some of the like red-orange or apple green, plus black, white and mid-gray. I can capture quite a bit with those pastels by blending in place, but not always the nuances of glass.
I see things I’d like to work on—the background for one, which I like rough and sketchy but I want a little more color in it and can’t decide which. I began with pale yellow, then added blue, then green then pale violet. On the table I may mess around with the glass a little more to define the pieces, but mostly the doily under the blue bowl in the center does not look like a doily. It will come to me.
But there is glass from nearly every era there, opalescent milk glass, Depression glass, colored, etched, painted, plus napkins and napkin rings over on the right and two hobnail lamps with cranberry glass, one a nice respectable table lamp and the other a naked lady with a lampshade on her head. Those Victorians knew how to entertain themselves.
When it’s done, I think I’ll buy one of Judi’s highly decorative vintage gold frames and use that to frame it.
Though the shop sells vintage items from the mid-19th century to mid-20th century, I have a room with my artwork in the building. It helps to be friends with the owner, and I’m grateful to have this display space and also enjoy my time there where I am totally unplugged—no cell phone, no computer or wireless, just a radio or a recorded book if I care to bring one. It’s a real break from the usual day. I put out the “open” flag and people stop in to browse, what fun.
I usually do a little rearranging and cleaning in my little room, sometimes a lot, but when I don’t have a lot to do I bring a project with me that, again, can be done while unplugged, like writing, which I will often do in pen on a good old-fashioned tablet, or a crochet project, and a take a lunch I can heat up. After the busy-ness of working at home it’s nice to get a quiet spot now and then.