Copper and bronze are always a challenge. The finest painter of copper, I think, was the Frenchman Chardin, whose paintings are really symphonies of atmosphere and detail.
Here are some of my own, rather early works. The mortar and pestle is my first painting of an item in bronze; the painting of the four measures is one of my earliest trying to paint copper. The cooking pan is a testimony to the saying of Vincent van Gogh that a painting that turns out well is sometimes the result of a whole series of failed attempts.
“Copper cooking pan”
Oil on canvas, 2008, 40 cm x 30 cm
This pan is one of a set of hauntingly beautiful, entirely hand-made cooking pots, that Robert and I bought on our honeymoon in a small artisan’s workshop in Florence. We cooked often with it – when we still had a gas cooker – and it has nicely worn with use.
“Mortar & Pestle on Slate”
Oil on canvas, 2008, 40 cm x 40 cm,
in a simple black shadow frame.
The heavy cast bronze mortar and pestle was a challenge to get right. The top is expressively moulded with a gentle slope on the inside and a marked angle outside. The slate slab I painted from memory: these were the slabs in the wine cellar of our house in Scotland.
“Four Measures on a slab of stone”
Oil on canvas, 2008, 40 cm x 50 cm
The old measures are red copper outside, with yellow copper handles and tin linings. They are in metric sizes with the largest indicating a volume of 1 litre. I bought them at an antiques fair in the Netherlands.