During a recent still life painting I took some photos to show how I go about my painting process. I’m sure many of you probably do it differently, but that’s the great thing about painting—you can almost always learn something from seeing how someone else does it.
First off, I do my drawing, of course. I didn’t take a photo of that step, but a good drawing always helps the painting go more smoothly.
I then applied some masking fluid to all of the areas that I wanted to keep white. Once the masking fluid dried, I started with the nectarines and gave them a quick wash of watery red.
Around this time I also painted in the warm shadows cast by the fruit and the jar, and put some light green into the glass.
In the next step, I defined the jar quite a bit more. I mixed a dark blue-green colour for the darkest parts of the jar (usually found on the edges and corners, where the light doesn’t pass through as cleanly) then diluted that same colour by adding in some water, and used that for the middle-value green of the glass.
I also put an orange wash over the nectarines, and even added some blue dabs to the left side of the jar where some additional colours were reflecting in the glass.
At this stage, I felt like the background needed some colour, so I painted in a splash of tan colouring in the background next to some blue. In hindsight, this was a bad move.
But, leaving that mistake to deal with later, I added some pizazz by painting in a nice bright orange on the nectarines, followed by some red.
With the nectarines completed I tried to repair the background by adding some more tan/brown to it. . .
. . . until I finally admitted defeat on the background and peeled off the masking fluid.
I do like the jar and the nectarines, but I wish I had just left the background with some pale blue washes.