More Doom (What’s Wrong With Me?)

Still life oil painting of a skull and and other objects by Helen Davison

‘Memento-mori II’. Oil on card, 10″ x 8″

Another dark and doomy little painting from this dark and doomy summer!

Actually, it wasn’t planned to be so miserable. It wasn’t planned at all. With little idea of what to paint, I looked over the still life shelves, filled with various jars and vessels, and decided that it is never a waste to study a skull. That became my starting point, and the rest was kind of filler that I felt was required to balance a composition that didn’t quite get off to the right start. Once you’ve started off down a theme, you might as well commit fully, so I included the matches (one burned and extinguished) as a nod to traditional Memento-mori painting. It’s all a bit contrived, but at least I wasn’t watching daytime TV.

More seriously though, the study of the skull is a very valuable exercise to the portrait artist. A longer project that I will endeavour to undertake soon is a series of paintings from a variety of angles. The consideration of this solid structure upon which muscle and skin is built, helps enormously when considering how a head is put together.