Work In progress by Janette Boskett
As a still-life painter I am always on the look-out for unusual objects. I particularly like anything related to human shape, like shoe trees, wooden mannequin hands etc. My most recent aquisition is an electric hat stretcher. When I saw this item in a local saleroom I knew that I had to have it - I had already visualised it in a painting!
Image of pencil drawing Because the subject of this painting is partly imaginative, I started with a large pencil drawing having deconstructed an old straw hat to see how the weave worked and an artificial white rose to observe its component parts. I was so keen to start the painting that I did not fully finish the drawing. Firstly I transferred the outline onto the canvas which I had already made for this work. To save time I used an OHP for this. I like to paint on linen, which is an expensive support, so it is very much more economical to buy the fabric by the metre and make the wooden stretcher frames as required. This means that I can work at any size as the painting dictates.
Blocking in the basic colours was my first task in paint, and deciding what the background colour was to be. I love cadmium red deep for its dramatic impact and thought that this would work well with the subject matter.
Here I have added the green for the leaves, enjoying the vibrating effect of the red/green complementary colours, and darkened the table top and base of the hat stretcher. I have put in further work on the construction of the hat and finally decided to make the ribbon a delicate pink/mauve.
Now it is really a case of getting down to more detail all over. I have glazed over the top of the table and parts of the red background. The winding mechanism of the hat stretcher and its wooden base still needs sorting out. The edges of the petals, the leaves and the ribbon need to be re-instated.