(Or licorice if you’re American), is the root of the herbal plant Glycyrrhiza glabra. A sweet tasting extract can be obtained from this root and has been for millennia, stores of the stuff were found in ancient Egyptian tombs. The extract is used in herbal medicine and as a sweetener for drinks and confectionery.
Plain dried sticks of liquorice root were traditionally chewed as a simple basic sweet, but you’ll be more familiar with the manufactured delights of modern sweets and candies such as liquorice allsorts.
Liquorice Allsorts were first made in Sheffield in the early 20th century, they come in a range of shapes and colours with the liquorice flavoured black sections sandwiched or surrounded by sugar packed coloured bits.
I’ve been wanting to do a still life featuring liquorice allsorts for absolute ages. They are so pretty to look at, such lovely pastel colours. They are also rather delicious and the packet of sweets have always managed to disappear down my throat before I’ve had a chance to get the paints out!
The obvious solution was to work from a photo which is what I’ve done here. My favourite allsorts are the round pink or yellow coconut flavoured ones, two of which you can see in the painting along with a few other types.
Painting with casein
The painting was done using casein paints on watercolour paper. The matte casein does pastel colours so well. The palette included cadmium yellow, lemon yellow, alizarin crimson, burnt sienna and ultramarine blue. I used a palette knife to get that textured background.