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Still Life Painting

  • Slide Show
 
 
still-life-painting-32

Our Still Life Painting lesson explains and illustrates the process of building up a detailed painting from start to finish using an 'imprimatura' technique.

  • Imprimatura (trans. ‘first paint layer’) is a traditional painting technique where the image is built up with overpainted transparent layers of tone and color upon an underpainted base layer.
  • It was first used in Renaissance art and is particularly suitable for realistic painting.
  • When learning to paint, it is best to start with a traditional method of approach which you can then build upon to develop a more personal style as your confidence increases.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 1

 

Step 1: Drawing the Still Life

Start to sketch the objects as individual ‘wireframe’ forms.

We start to draw our still life with a fine brush or charcoal pencil.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 2

 

Step 2: Applying Color

Complete the drawing using a ‘wireframe’ technique

TECHNIQUE: At this stage of the work, the foreground and background were loosely blocked in using a dark and light green respectively. A tissue was then used to soften the texture of the pastels and blend the color more smoothly. Next some dark blue was lightly applied to create the areas of shade. Finally, the tissue was used again to blend the various colors together and refine the tones of the shadows.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 3

 

Step 3: Color the Still Life from Back to Front

Erase any lines of construction.

TECHNIQUE: After applying color to the background and foreground you move on to the objects at the rear of the still life group. A basic brown crayon was used to draw in the dark tones of the bottles. The lighter tones and reflections

 

Still Life Painting - Step 4

 

Step 4: Coloring the Vase

Build up the color of the vase.

TECHNIQUE: The form of the large vase on the left hand side of the still life was built up with broad layers of yellow, red and blue. These colors were subsequently blended together with a white crayon. A tissue was then used to smooth and

 

Still Life Painting - Step 5

 

Step 5: Adding the Reflections to the Silver Cup

Add the colorful reflections to the cup.

TECHNIQUE: The distorted shapes of the reflections on the silver cup were carefully drawn from close observation but loosely colored, exercising care not to overdo the darker tones. These reflected colors and tones were mixed by various

 

Still Life Painting - Step 6

 

Step 6: Completing the Basic Colors and Tones

Complete the basic colors and tones.

TECHNIQUE: The final step in completing the basic colors and tones of our still life was to shade in the green apple. It was initially colored using a bright yellow which would establish a luminous foundation for the darker layers of green to be applied at a later stage. The areas of darker tone on the apple were suggested by smudging a light green into the

 

Still Life Painting - Step 7

 

Step 7: Adjusting the Color and Tone for Dramatic Effect

Intensify the background tones.

TECHNIQUE: Once the basic colors and tones of a still life are established, they need to be adjusted to increase the expressive impact of the image. We start this process by increasing the tonal contrast of the background and foreground. In the background, a dark blue was blended into the green base color to deepen the darkest tones behind

 

Still Life Painting - Step 8

 

Step 8: Building up the Form of the Vase

Complete the tones of the vase.

TECHNIQUE: Next, the form of the vase on the left is built up using a thin layer of white to strengthen its lighter tones

 

Still Life Painting - Step 9

 

Step 9: Intensifying the Color and Tone of the Bottles

Intensify the colors and tones of the bottles.

TECHNIQUE: Continuing the process of working from back to front, the colors and tones of the two bottles are now intensified. Blues and reds are blended into the brown of the bottles to deepen the density of their dark tones, while a

 

Still Life Painting - Step 10

 

Step 10: Polishing up the Final Image

Intensify and unify the remaining objects.

TECHNIQUE: To complete the still life, the tonal contrasts of colors in the silver cup and the apple are exaggerated by dramatically darkening the reflections and shadows on both objects. Various mixtures of blue, red, dark green and brown were blended to create the darkest areas of tone in these objects, while a little white was applied as highlights and to sharpen contrasting edges.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 11

 

Step 1: Drawing the Still Life

Start to sketch the objects as individual ‘wireframe’ forms.

We start to draw our still life with a fine brush or charcoal pencil.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 12

 

Step 2: Applying Color

Complete the drawing using a ‘wireframe’ technique

TECHNIQUE: At this stage of the work, the foreground and background were loosely blocked in using a dark and light green respectively. A tissue was then used to soften the texture of the pastels and blend the color more smoothly. Next some dark blue was lightly applied to create the areas of shade. Finally, the tissue was used again to blend the various colors together and refine the tones of the shadows.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 13

 

Step 3: Color the Still Life from Back to Front

Erase any lines of construction.

TECHNIQUE: After applying color to the background and foreground you move on to the objects at the rear of the still life group. A basic brown crayon was used to draw in the dark tones of the bottles. The lighter tones and reflections were left as the white of the paper. Again a tissue was used to smooth out the rough texture of the crayon and blend the tones more gradually into one another.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 14

 

Step 4: Coloring the Vase

Build up the color of the vase.

TECHNIQUE: The form of the large vase on the left hand side of the still life was built up with broad layers of yellow, red and blue. These colors were subsequently blended together with a white crayon. A tissue was then used to smooth and unify the overall tone to create the mottled effect of this color.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 15

 

Step 5: Adding the Reflections to the Silver Cup

Add the colorful reflections to the cup.

TECHNIQUE: The distorted shapes of the reflections on the silver cup were carefully drawn from close observation but loosely colored, exercising care not to overdo the darker tones. These reflected colors and tones were mixed by various combinations of red, blue and dark green. The lightest tones, which were created without any white crayon, were achieved by allowing the white of the paper to shine through.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 16

 

Step 6: Completing the Basic Colors and Tones

Complete the basic colors and tones.

TECHNIQUE: The final step in completing the basic colors and tones of our still life was to shade in the green apple. It was initially colored using a bright yellow which would establish a luminous foundation for the darker layers of green to be applied at a later stage. The areas of darker tone on the apple were suggested by smudging a light green into the

 

Still Life Painting - Step 17

 

Step 7: Adjusting the Color and Tone for Dramatic Effect

Intensify the background tones.

TECHNIQUE: Once the basic colors and tones of a still life are established, they need to be adjusted to increase the expressive impact of the image. We start this process by increasing the tonal contrast of the background and foreground. In the background, a dark blue was blended into the green base color to deepen the darkest tones behind and below the objects. A layer of white was also applied to subdue the luminosity of the green. In the foreground the subtle variations of tone and reflected color were suggested with blended layers of white, blue and yellow.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 18

 

Step 8: Building up the Form of the Vase

Complete the tones of the vase.

TECHNIQUE: Next, the form of the vase on the left is built up using a thin layer of white to strengthen its lighter tones and a blended mixture of red, yellow and blue to deepen its darker tones.

NOTE: A small line of reflected light is highlighted down the right hand side of the vase to increase its contrast with the background.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 19

 

Step 9: Intensifying the Color and Tone of the Bottles

Intensify the colors and tones of the bottles.

TECHNIQUE: Continuing the process of working from back to front, the colors and tones of the two bottles are now intensified. Blues and reds are blended into the brown of the bottles to deepen the density of their dark tones, while a full spectrum of light colors including pinks, yellows, oranges, greens, blues and violets is used for their reflections.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 20

 

Step 10: Polishing up the Final Image

Intensify and unify the remaining objects.

TECHNIQUE: To complete the still life, the tonal contrasts of colors in the silver cup and the apple are exaggerated by dramatically darkening the reflections and shadows on both objects. Various mixtures of blue, red, dark green and brown were blended to create the darkest areas of tone in these objects, while a little white was applied as highlights and to sharpen contrasting edges.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 21

 

Step 1: Drawing the Still Life

Start to sketch the objects as individual ‘wireframe’ forms.

We start to draw our still life with a fine brush or charcoal pencil.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 22

 

Step 2: Applying Color

Complete the drawing using a ‘wireframe’ technique

TECHNIQUE: At this stage of the work, the foreground and background were loosely blocked in using a dark and light green respectively. A tissue was then used to soften the texture of the pastels and blend the color more smoothly. Next some dark blue was lightly applied to create the areas of shade. Finally, the tissue was used again to blend the various colors together and refine the tones of the shadows.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 23

 

Step 3: Color the Still Life from Back to Front

Erase any lines of construction.

TECHNIQUE: After applying color to the background and foreground you move on to the objects at the rear of the still life group. A basic brown crayon was used to draw in the dark tones of the bottles. The lighter tones and reflections were left as the white of the paper. Again a tissue was used to smooth out the rough texture of the crayon and blend the tones more gradually into one another.

NOTE: Although it is not obvious in our illustration, it is helpful to lightly sketch the shapes of any shadows or reflections onto each object before you start applying the color.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 24

 

Step 4: Coloring the Vase

Build up the color of the vase.

TECHNIQUE: The form of the large vase on the left hand side of the still life was built up with broad layers of yellow, red and blue. These colors were subsequently blended together with a white crayon. A tissue was then used to smooth and unify the overall tone to create the mottled effect of this color.

NOTE: When you are building up layers of color on top of one another, do so lightly as an excessive thickness of the oil crayon will start to resist the application of more color. If this happens, use a palette knife to scrape off the excess crayon so that you can apply fresh color.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 25

 

Step 5: Adding the Reflections to the Silver Cup

Add the colorful reflections to the cup.

TECHNIQUE: The distorted shapes of the reflections on the silver cup were carefully drawn from close observation but loosely colored, exercising care not to overdo the darker tones. These reflected colors and tones were mixed by various combinations of red, blue and dark green. The lightest tones, which were created without any white crayon, were achieved by allowing the white of the paper to shine through.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 26

 

Step 6: Completing the Basic Colors and Tones

Complete the basic colors and tones.

TECHNIQUE: The final step in completing the basic colors and tones of our still life was to shade in the green apple. It was initially colored using a bright yellow which would establish a luminous foundation for the darker layers of green to be applied at a later stage. The areas of darker tone on the apple were suggested by smudging a light green into the

 

Still Life Painting - Step 27

 

Step 7: Adjusting the Color and Tone for Dramatic Effect

Intensify the background tones.

TECHNIQUE: Once the basic colors and tones of a still life are established, they need to be adjusted to increase the expressive impact of the image. We start this process by increasing the tonal contrast of the background and foreground. In the background, a dark blue was blended into the green base color to deepen the darkest tones behind and below the objects. A layer of white was also applied to subdue the luminosity of the green. In the foreground the subtle variations of tone and reflected color were suggested with blended layers of white, blue and yellow.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 28

 

Step 8: Building up the Form of the Vase

Complete the tones of the vase.

TECHNIQUE: Next, the form of the vase on the left is built up using a thin layer of white to strengthen its lighter tones and a blended mixture of red, yellow and blue to deepen its darker tones.

NOTE: A small line of reflected light is highlighted down the right hand side of the vase to increase its contrast with the background.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 29

 

Step 9: Intensifying the Color and Tone of the Bottles

Intensify the colors and tones of the bottles.

TECHNIQUE: Continuing the process of working from back to front, the colors and tones of the two bottles are now intensified. Blues and reds are blended into the brown of the bottles to deepen the density of their dark tones, while a full spectrum of light colors including pinks, yellows, oranges, greens, blues and violets is used for their reflections.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 30

 

Step 10: Polishing up the Final Image

Intensify and unify the remaining objects.

TECHNIQUE: To complete the still life, the tonal contrasts of colors in the silver cup and the apple are exaggerated by dramatically darkening the reflections and shadows on both objects. Various mixtures of blue, red, dark green and brown were blended to create the darkest areas of tone in these objects, while a little white was applied as highlights and to sharpen contrasting edges.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 31

 

Step 10: Polishing up the Final Image

Intensify and unify the remaining objects.

TECHNIQUE: To complete the still life, the tonal contrasts of colors in the silver cup and the apple are exaggerated by dramatically darkening the reflections and shadows on both objects. Various mixtures of blue, red, dark green and brown were blended to create the darkest areas of tone in these objects, while a little white was applied as highlights and to sharpen contrasting edges.

 

Still Life Painting - Step 32

 

Step 10: Polishing up the Final Image

Intensify and unify the remaining objects.

TECHNIQUE: To complete the still life, the tonal contrasts of colors in the silver cup and the apple are exaggerated by dramatically darkening the reflections and shadows on both objects. Various mixtures of blue, red, dark green and brown were blended to create the darkest areas of tone in these objects, while a little white was applied as highlights and to sharpen contrasting edges.

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