Back to the Basics: Still Life

I am spending some time going back to the basics (still life), working on technique more, with still life paintings. Don’t worry, I’ll still be painting birds and landscapes, too, but want to work on my overall mixing, brush strokes, etc. Below, I’ll share how I did it for those who would like to know:

An oil painting study of oranges and grapes on a green cloth

“Oranges and Grapes” study, oil, 16 X 20

1. First,  I set up the still life the way I wanted, using a green fuzzy towel for contrast with the orange colors.

2. I then sketched in the objects and light shadows with ultramarine blue and olive green mixed.

3.   I then painted in the background with a mix of yellow ochre, cad. yellow med., burnt sienna, olive green and black, in varying proportions.

4. I then painted the towel, first the underpainting in ultramarine blue and olive green. I also did the main shadows for the oranges in the same colors.

5. I then painted the towel with a mix of sap green, cad.yellow light, and white in varying proportions (once the underpainting was dry).

6. I then blocked in the mass of grapes (alizarin, dioxide purple, ultramarine blue, and some black), and the oranges (cad. yellow med.,, cad. red med, and cad yellow light in varying mixes).

7. I created shadows with the above colors mixed with ultramarine blue (and black, for the deepest values), and highlights by adding white to the mixes.

8. I then ate the still life in a fruit salad when it was done! My favorite part!