To Still Life Paintings Home Page

Complete Book Now Available For Immediate DownLoad (1.5 MB)

Painting Techniques:2

Painting techniques: Stage 3

After a little more work, here's the result.The background colour has been thinly rubbed in, and the dark masses of the jug and leaves and the tabletop strengthened. I have begun to work the flowers up to their final values. Here's where that little bit of of white comes in handy.

This represents the highest, lightest value you're going to be able to hit. On a subject with anything shiny or polished in it, you'll find the highlights are much brighter than any paint you'll come across in any art store.

In effect,highlights function as little 'torches'. You can't really imitate them anything like exactly.

So what to do? (In the picture we're looking at here, there really are no 'big deal' highlights. So it's not much of a concern. But the general point is interesting.)

At the least you can keep the rest of your picture toned down so that the highlights remain the brightest lights in the painting, even if they are not as bright as they'should' be. This can be carried too far. A lot of old dutch pictures seem to vanish entirely into the gloom except for a few minute points of light. It's an extreme that can be fascinating, but which tends to produce very black pictures!

Note that the jug is here only vaguely suggested. Flowers wilt, fade and die so quickly I always feel a slight sense of panic to get them straightened out first. On a first attempt, I would suggest you use 'silk' (artificial) flowers. That will give you as long as the paint stays wet to get them into shape...and colour.. and tone...

sPainting Techniques: Stage 4

The picture above shows the painting after a little work on the white and blue jug.

The general principle as always is to slowly bring everything up the the desired tone. (The illustrations here are grainy because I used small file sizes, to stop the downloads taking too long.)

On this scale the painting appears to be taking shape quite well. The greatest difficulty is in bearing in mind all the time the relationship of the part you are working on the to the whole picture. This is easier said than done!

Compare your lights to the the strongest light in the picture. Compare your darks to the deepest dark. If you have chosen a 'simple' enough subject, (ie few and strong main masses) you have a chance of coming close to it.

to previous page of painting techniques demo
to next page of painting techniques demo