Work In progress by Mandy Wu

Crate of Food Trompe L'oeil by Mandy Wu

This is a small trompe l'oeil style painting which I commenced as a hobby, but then I left for a while. It was initially meant to be a watercolour painting on canvas board (8 x 6ins),but asI recently resumed painting, I wanted it to have a solid chiaroscuro feel to it. I wasn't able to work from life, so I assembled a few reference photos of the individual objects, and basically used my instinct to build the tone and surface. As I worked on it, studying all the food made me very hungry! It was very exciting returning to watch the painting develop.

Stage 1

This is 'half-way' into the progress where I had to re-master the original watercolour painted objects,using acrylic paint. As you can see, the shot glass and grapes are not quite 'solid' enough. The orange coloured area is the base of the crate (lined with straw). This base is not yet defined with tone.

Stage 2

Here, I did begin to define the crate's base, and add more objects such as the chili peppers. The straw still doesnot have enough depth yet.

Stage 3

This is the completed work, as yet unsigned. For the base, I applied a deeper shadow tone by mixing cadmium red with grass green. The frame of the crate is re-mastered - the cadmium red for the shadowsadds a warmness to it. Even though the base has depth, the crate as a whole is relatively shallow, to create an effect ofa profusion offood.

Stage 4

In terms of composition, what was important was to create a flow of distinctive shapes and pattern with the suggestion of items piled randomly on top of each other. Shown at a different angle, the depth of field can be seen better.

A high-definition version is available at my gallery,in which it is also for sale. Thanks for looking!

(Click here to see more of Mandy's work in her gallery)