Assignment 2: Still life- Mask with Red Apple

With lots of ideas running through my head and my time running out, I remembered having been inspired at the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition in London by the beautiful simplicity of her ‘Mask with Golden Apple’, and had thought how this might inform my own work.



I have a wooden mask from Bali and have just returned from the market with a couple of shiny red apples. Have just spent some time arranging possible positions and backgrounds  on my desk upstairs and I think I have decided on a soft green silk scarf, that belonged to my grandmother and just the one apple beside the mask. The apples are quite large and as the mask is flat to the surface it does not quite work the same way as O’Keeffe’s arrangement.


I would want the mood of my painting to be very still and calm, with good contrasts from the natural light through the window,  painting the background in a soft and fluid way, with the mask and apples taking stronger brushwork.  I like the mystery of why the apple with the mask? I think the pattern on the scarf will add background interest and the green is a good complementary colour. The light from the window is very good today as the sun is out but I may have to set up a light if working at another time. I am doing some sketches and working out how best to describe it.20161215_155122

The pattern on the scarf might be a tricky…

Today, having done a few more quick sketches and a fast water colour, to my surprise I think the original arrangement, with the apple in front in the centre, is the most pleasing and well balanced composition




Colours to use: colours

I laid down a pale yellow wash as a ground and when that had dried I made a start, using a pale wash to lightly mark out the objects. I am having a break now and may continue later or

I have started painting the silk background and I am thinking that the pattern is not going to work. It is just too complicated.  I had tried it on a smaller scale but I think I am going to have to have it as a plain green background, with some fabric folds. I am having a break to re think. This is bad because it means I had not thought it through properly. I am not pleased with myself at this moment. My focus had been on the mask and the apple and the positioning of said objects. I am, however, pleased with the mask and the way the red apple jumps out in contrast. I will leave it today and go back fresh tomorrow.

Next day. I even had a dream about this painting last night! Stressed?! Moi?! So, I am going to leave out the pattern on the scarf. I also had an idea of letting some of the underneath table edge show but having quickly tried on a smaller scale decided this unbalanced the painting.


So I will just work to describe the material folds and shaded areas, highlights and tones. This is more in keeping with the simplicity of O’Keeffe’s work.


I am not unhappy with the outcome, although I recognise and have learned from not thinking the background through properly. My husband had a very positive reaction when he saw my work, which is encouraging 🙂







Author: Wendy Kate

Happily sharing my life in Spain with a tall bearded man from Dorset.

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