This is a beautiful Chardin and its about time for a still life painting.
These are my choice for the three main diagonals. Number two follows one side of the ray fish head and the ladle handle. One follows the other side of the ray fish’s head and the two main oysters on the table. Three follows the cats tail and the kettle handle.
I started using just the outer angles of the ray fish and the pot handle and knife, and started to see a pattern, kind of ray-like? Maybe I went a little overboard…
Here are some added vertical lines. I can tell they are right around the ray fish head but maybe not elsewhere. These studies are a process for me, when I learn something I try using it in a painting to see how it will pan out. So I experiment a lot, the interesting thing is when you get the structure right you can really feel the space.
Below: A version with horizontal and vertical lines added to the three diagonals. The red lines are the beginning of form building. the planes built with the diagonals and horizontal/vertical grid will change their reading depending on which direction your eye is traveling and how you are reading, window or wall, surface or space. For me this study reads best for the objects that are sitting on the table in front. The knife works pretty good too!
Here is another variation.
Playing around with contour and light direction.
Sometimes it can get a little crazy. The second one below is tracing my eye path (green lines) as I read the painting, and then I turn the painting image layer off to see what happens.
It looks kind of interesting and in some weird way reminds of those beautiful curvy lines in a Braque. I should play with a Braque sometime…