Good morning. Today I’m talking about a painting I had at the Flower Pepper Gallery’s Summer Show. This is a still life of orchid leaves inside a copper pot with an orange. In the setup, there was also a pear, but I knew I wouldn’t finish the pear if I added it – and the composition made it look very odd, too close to the edge of the panel, so I made the decision to leave it out.
Composition: When I’m coming up with an idea of how I want my painting to look, I often take a photo, and crop that photo to the size of my canvas on my phone. This way – I can see different placements of my objects and how they would affect the viewers eye. I also use the View Finder (the small gray square with retractable window) for finding composition, but in this case I did it on my phone. Since I had trouble with the pear, I left it out entirely.
Painting: You can see here that I have in more or less simplified ALL areas of my colours that will be taking up the whole painting. This is only about 30-40 minutes in. A huge advantage of this is that if I don’t want to get too detailed, I can simply leave it as is, and its a more abstract painting. If I don’t “finish” I won’t have something that looks clearly unfinished, I’ll have a fully realized painting, just some areas will be more abstract than others.
Here I’ve started to add some details, particularly the large swathes of lights and shadows on the copper and leaves. Pay attention to each object as it’s own object, so a full value range for the leaves, and also the object as it relates to other objects. Some of the darkest areas on the painting ended up in the leaves, and the leaves and orange both have reflections on the copper pot.
The finished painting. As you can see I really enjoy painting copper and shiny objects. It was a fun challenge to show the warm light and the two soft, cool, window lights that also affected the pot. I loved doing the reflection of the orange, and pushing that dark shadow in the leaves that really made this pop.
Thank you for reading.
Oil on Panel 8″x8″
I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who love art. I met Marian at the Sean Cheetham workshop, and she invited me to work in her studio once a week. We get together with some very incredible artists and practice speaking Mandarin and English, teaching each other about painting, and learning from Masters. Here is our selection this week, with my Edge Pro Gear Paintbook Pro as my go-to for longer sessions, although with the 8″x8″ size of my panel, the Sketchbook Pro would have done very well.
Our setup, some rich, luscious papaya slices and grapes! Looked delicious.
Here is a picture with my palette part of the way through. Here you can see each “section” has it’s own area on the palette. I can use these to mix with one another in order to show things like bounce light. Ex, the green went into some of the shadows because the grapes were getting the light through them onto the fabric shadows. Think about these things and mix enough of your colors that you can use some of it in unexpected areas.
I almost would have loved to do a larger piece of this – get in there with a small brush and add detail, but I’m always on a time limit. I do enjoy the way this looks finished, particularly the grapes!
How to get your painting to show the focal point you want – or how to deal with competing focal points.
Here is a small, 6×6 painting of a couple roses:
In order to make the front rose into the focal point (actually, if you look at the back roses, they aren’t even roses, just some brush strokes!) I deliberately darkened and muted every single mixture I used for my back roses. The front is brighter, higher saturation, and more detailed, which is why your eye naturally sees it as the focal point. Always keep this in mind when you’re having trouble with a busy painting. I also have the entire process of this painting published on youtube at Los Angeles Academy of Art‘s feed:
These videos show the full, uncut process of how I mix my paints, and how I put them on the canvas in the most easy way possible. All done on my Edge Pro Gear Paintbook which I adore.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask!
Thank you for reading!
This is a rather large painting for me, and I only had an hour to work on it. I was happy to be invited to my friend’s house for a still life painting session – only to find she had also invited some incredible, well known artists from China! What an awesome opportunity! Here is all I finished, I was on a time limit but next time I will have more time to work. I loved the antique, asymmetrical three legged bowl and the copper vase the most (as you can see, most of the work went there.)
The drawbacks of having so little time – I didn’t get a chance to move this into the style I wanted, I had to focus on putting as much information in as short amount of time as possible. There’s always next time!
Thanks for reading!
Check out PhiladelphiaGalleryofArt.com to find some great artwork from Philadelphia artists! They also have a facebook and a twitter, although I think as just starting there aren’t too many posts right now. If you’re in Philadelphia, they’re accepting applications for representation, it’s on the contact on their website.
On an equally awesome note, check out my still life. I bet you thought I would never paint one (again.) But I did, and in fact ENJOYED it. That’s right, the mandarins stood completely still while you move your head around and talk a lot. The mandarins had very little to say, and honestly putting these on the wall will be cheaper in the long run than buying new oranges every week to replace the dried ones. I mean, these are like $5 for 3 lbs! You don’t want that kind of recurring tax on your plate, but if you buy this painting (available at the previous link) you are basically getting an ikea bowl, three everlasting oranges, and a partially opened orange included in the price. Granted, you can’t do anything with them but look, but imagine how they will brighten up your fancy foyer table, and you’ll never have to change the water.
Since I’m in school now, as well as teaching, I have been busy. Btw if you want to learn, I have proof that my teaching method is good, and in four weeks I promise your portraits will improve (unless you are David Kassan, then I can’t help you.)
Here is some inspiration (for you to go to AFTER you visit philadelphiagalleryofart.com) www.jefflegg.com It has music, but if you mute it you will find some beauty. Maybe you will be inspired to buy a still life as well.