Vermeer van Delft's painting

Maidservant pouring milk

While perusing G.H. Gombrich's, The story of Art, this reproduction caught my eye and I took a second look. Although there is no single reason for my choice of this particular painting, it is considered to be a 'masterpiece' and was an accessible text reproduced in a book I happened to be reading. Perhaps I was looking for examples for lecture notes, or perhaps it was a moment of pensive domestic reflection. Or perhaps it was because I enjoyed copying reproductions of paintings as a young person, thus bringing a long-term memory into consciousness.
A large cardboard folder contains over one hundred loose drawings predominantly executed on cartridge paper (60 x 42 cm), from which several drawings have been selected and reproduced here. They tell a story of how this reproduction evolved over time to become a series of large paintings depicting waterfalls.
A more detailed narrative with added illustrations can be found in my doctoral thesis (From head to hand and beyond: thought-image drawings in sketchbooks) on pages 162-193.

Vermeer van Delft 1623-1675, 'Maidservant pouring milk' circa 1660

Oil on canvas, 41 x 45.5 cm, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam






Quick copy of tonal and linear directions of composition showing positive and negative shapes, emphasising eye paths.

Pencil, 60 x 42 cm.


Topographical map of viewer and Maidservant in the same space, dissolving the picture plane, thus reconfiguring the time element and the picture frame.

Charcoal, 60 x 42 cm




Imagining altered time and space.

Charcoal and pastel, 42 x 60 cm


Using non-dominant hand to make image while touching space with dominant hand.

Charcoal and pastel, 60 x 42 cm





Using non-dominant hand to draw with eyes closed, utilising thought-image in memory.

Coloured pencil, 60 x 42 cm



Entering picture space to view Maidservant from another viewpoint.

Oil on watercolour paper, 60 x 42 cm.





Cubist-type drawing finding edges of depicted objects with emphasis on milk stream.

Charcoal and white pastel, 60 x 42 cm



Milk is still flowing after 350 years.

Mixed media, 52 x 40 cm






Vermeer Waterfall, oil and paper on canvas mounted on found timber, 190 x 155 cm