It turns out there’s quite a long wait for my canvases to be stretched, so I decided to design another painting, so I can get the canvas order in soon. It’s unusual for me to do two set-ups so close together. Anyway, I recently found this very cool vase at Jonathan Adler. I wanted it to be the star of a new painting. Only one of my three set-up areas was free, so I set the vase there with a few stones to pick up the colors. I felt like I needed more color, so I put the blue painted board down as the tabletop.

The vase seemed crowded here. My other set-up areas are deeper, so I ‘struck the set’ of my last painting on one of them to make room for this new one. You can see this space below. The vase has more room to breath here. I propped up the blue board so that it could serve as a wall. I think that I like it better in this position. I used my old-faithful orange painting box propped up on its side to cast a shadow from the spotlight on the right. The mirrored surfaces on the vase cast amazing reflections onto the wall and tabletop. I substituted a black box for the blue one, and added more stones–lots more stones! I have an idea that I’d like an abundance of stones in this composition.

My husband came in and I wanted his opinion, so I handed him my view-finder to look at the set-up. He first looked at it through the view-finder at an angle from the wall. I told him that he had to stand so that the v.f. was parallel to the line where the table meets the wall. He did, and said that he liked it better at an angle. I looked, and I had to agree! See below for this view.

I always work with the horizon line parallel to the picture plane, so this seemed very strange to me. In this case, I think that the angle makes the composition much more dynamic and energetic. He also suggested adding some more green, so I added the glass bowl. I also added the geode whose rough side adds a contrast in texture.

I thought that the left side needed some more interest, so I moved the green bowl over. Now it cast a fascinating green shadow onto the wall. I really liked how the blue wall looked with all of these colored shadows and reflections.

Above, I added a small red stone between the vase and the bowl so that it caught a bit of the light, but was mostly in shadow. I love the drama of objects emerging from shadow.

As an experiment, above, I replaced the red stone in front of the vase with a piece of fool’s gold. I like the way this echoes the shiny gold mirror surface on the vase.

The shadow area between the vase and the bowl looked a bit empty and dull, so I added another stone, barely visible, above. I lived with this composition for a while. I really liked it, but it seemed that the curved shadow cast by the bowl was leading the eye out of the composition to the left.

To solve this problem, I moved the large red stone on the left side of the black box over to the left, so that it intersected this shadow, cutting it off and leading the eye down and to the right. I also rotated the white stone sitting on top of the large orange stone to further lead the eye around to the right and back into the picture.

Another thing that had been bothering me was that everything seemed to move in a line from lower left to upper right. I thought that I could break this movement up by moving the group of three stones on the far right down a bit, towards the edge of the table.

Now that there was more room in front of the vase, I added a tiny red stone in such a position that it was reflected into the bottom of the vase. I also re-arranged the stones on top of the black box. I’ll live with this for a while, and then see what I think.