Pottery has been especially important to me these days, during the pandemic. We spend so much time at home. The objects we have at hand have a solemnity and prominence we didn't always give them when we rushed from home to the outside world. Now, we can savor and linger over that morning coffee and make a slow ritual of tea in the afternoon. Given how much I had come to appreciate these moments with cup in hand over the last several months, it seemed right to bring them into the painting studio and do their portraits.
This object provokes so many memories. I will always remember the first time a waiter in a simple French cafe poured hot strong coffee from a pitcher in one hand while pouring hot milk from a smaller pitcher in his other hand; for me, into a bowl like this. Coffee never tasted so good. With a marvelous baquette and un oeuf sur le plat, I thought I had gone to heaven.
In the painting, my latte bowl sits on a favorite piece of antique French cloth.
In the painting, the cup and saucer sit on a favorite tablecloth for picnics. The cloth brings a relaxed country mood to the modern object.
No special cloth here. The mug sits on a simple linen napkin, also purchased at Heath. As I set up the still life/portrait, the mug called for a very simple, minimalist background.
No cloth at all here. The cup sits on a wooden cutting board. While working on this painting, I was also experimenting with an ochre background. I just couldn't resist the combination of yellow and blue.
By the time I got to this cup, my still life objects had begun a revolt. They organized to tell me that they had had enough of being painted all alone, without any company. "Isn't it bad enough that so many people are feeling so alone in these pandemic days," they asked me, "why do we need to be alone, why can't we have company in your paintings of us." The Vermont cup had a particularly strong and grumpy way of putting this point, so I agreed to add a clear bottle to the set up. Early in the painting, I realized that the bottle had brought along its own friend, its shadow. Now we were three in the painting.