Ship in a Bottle

9″ x 12″ Charcoal

As I worked on this still life, I had to really focus on the information that was needed rather than just what was in front of me. For example; the rope was very complex in reality with a lot of hard dark edges. I knew that if I just drew it very literally it would not look as real as if I just squinted and drew the light and dark pattern that I saw. I just picked out small pieces of dark while trying to maintain the round form. The final result is convincing without being too busy. It was the same for the moss and shell, just looking at the character and the form and picking out certain areas to embellish makes for an interesting drawing.

As I set up a still life I want to incorporate a narrative quality. I found this shell years ago and have always wanted to do a drawing of it. I found the glass bottle at a second hand store (great place to find random treasures!) and set up the still life from there. It was still missing something, so I kept looking around my house for objects that could make the design more interesting. I had a little paper bag which some stamps came in. There was a 50 cent stamp printed on the front with a depiction of the Bluenose on it. Putting this “ship” in the bottle made the narrative complete!