Monday, February 9, 2015

Painting Process for "Still Life with Starfruit Blue Bottle and Teapot"

This is my newest painting, "Still Life with Starfruit, Blue Bottle and Teapot".  It's 30 x 40 inches and it's oil on canvas.  I took more photos of it while in process than I usually do and I'm posting some of them here in case anyone is interested.

 This is from December 8th.  I like to have the drawing finalized before I start any painting. This is what I got done on the first day of applying paint.  I like to start with the background to get rid of as much white as possible.  When I put the first colors in they usually look a lot darker than they will in the end, because there is still so much white on the canvas.


This is from the second day of painting.  I'm blocking in the colors for the objects in the still life. I'm doing my best to get the colors as accurate as I can but I know I'll need to make many adjustments after everything is in.


 This is from December 11th and everything is blocked in now.  This is when the painting really gets going, because for me it's all about the value and color relationships and I can't see those relationships properly until everything is in and the white is all covered. I've also put a second coat on the background, making it darker, especially towards the bottom where it meets the table and I want to create the illusion that it's behind the table.

From December 15th,  more messing around with the background. I put a lot more thought into the backgrounds than it would appear.  I like them to be dynamic, with a wide value range. At this point I made it warmer behind the blue bottle to help the bottle stand out.

 December 18th.  With each pass I like to fine tune the drawing, making the verticals and horizontals true and making things symmetrical that are supposed to be. There's no shame in using a ruler!  I'm also deepening the shadows, adding highlights and texture. I try to do all of this quickly because the fruit won't last very long.  This was the last day I worked on this before going away for the holidays.

 January 11th.  Back from Texas! The starfruit fell over and the orange was a gonner.  I got a substitute orange for color reference which helped some, and I also used a photo I took at the start to help me finish it. I worked on this for a few more weeks before I decided it was finished.  In the end I was never crazy about how the orange came out but that's the way it goes sometimes. Whatever I can't finish before the fruit expires is often a struggle, but there's always next time.


  1. Beautiful work , breathtaking ,
    Kind Regards
    Pat , Dublin , Ireland

    1. Thank you Pat! I appreciate that, and thanks for looking.

  2. Thanks very much Trish for your kindness I appreciate you for sending me blog I promise I will start sending you my progress in still life painting.

    1. Thanks to you kelvin. I look forward to seeing your paintings!