the top left-hand quarter and the picture looked rather unbalanced. I put in the cloth as an afterthought. With it's connotations of the draped funerary urn, I felt this 'worked' as a nod to the memento mori genre of painting.
There are heaps of things for me still to learn about rendering textures and depth, but I was fairly pleased with the silver and alabaster. I was tempted to make more of the printed pages of the book, but on reflection I'm very glad I didn't. At the stage I was at at the time this was painted, it would have ruined the unity of effect. A couple of years on and I'd still be extremely nervous about putting in more than the merest indication of the text.
Ben Laughton Smith
Aspiring artist, training in the classical tradition.