Coffee and an ellipse?

Frequent readers may recall that I – like most people – find it difficult to draw ellipses. I have difficulty spelling them too. So, why not try painting four of them in a single picture?

I ran out of Gamblin Naples Yellow Hue. I liked its opacity, but do not miss its consistency; it was a bit too stiff and starchy for me. Winsor and Newton’s Naples Yellow is a beautiful alternative: a rich caramel colour, juicy with oil. It is warm and mellow, and took my mind off the ellipses. Combined with an underpainting of Gamblin Burnt Sienna, it made this painting a tactile pleasure to make.

The canvas I used was picked up from amongst the traffic cones and jousting poles on sale at Aldi. Several layers of sealing it with good, heavy gesso later, it presented a very pleasant, smooth surface.

Return of the dreaded ellipse

A portrait can be ruined by an eyelid being a millimetre out of whack. With ellipses (the intersection of a plane by a cone – i.e. the shape of a round thing viewed from the side), it is also a matter of millimetres. I suspect most painters’ studios have a graveyard of failed canvasses in the corner where the dreaded ellipse has gone wrong … along with an eyelid or two.

I decided to tempt fate by painting a disposable coffee cup that combined an ellipse with a turned up spout. What a nightmare. Never again.