Night Hellebore and Pippi’s Jug. 2008 – acrylic on panel – 30 x 30 cms
While hunting in the archive for an image of a little still-life featuring one of Meri Wells’ porcelain figures… an image that I fear I can’t find at the moment… I came across this painting done at the same time. (They were two paintings of the same dimensions. The same window and table, but with different objects making up the still-life arrangements, and one set by day and the other by night.)
There are two things I love in this painting. Hellebores, which grow in profusion at Ty Isaf, and a little earthenware milk-jug by my friend Pip Koppel. The third object is talismanic, a ghostly pale sea-shell that invariably turns up whenever I need a third, small thing to balance a group of two. (While three work, I’ve yet to pull off a still-life made up of only two items, unless they’re of equal size and the negative space between them can then stand in for the missing third object.)
A word here to explain that things are not always as they seem. This artist extensively edits. At our cottage the sea is very close, though not quite as close as it appears in the still-life. A painting is a different kind of reality. A poetic response to the place. I have to use judgement and imagination to pare things back and make a more intense, hallucinatory image. Though I wish the curtains at the cottage windows were in reality as jaunty as the red and white check in the painting, they are in fact a rather faded chintz left over from the previous owners (I’ve always intended to change them) and so a tea-towel was co-opted to make the composition more effective.
Perhaps I shouldn’t confess to these deceits. I hope they don’t spoil any illusions you may have. Maybe I should just purchase a dozen tea-towels and sew them together to make curtains that match the painting!