This was the set up. As usual, I started by blocking in the objects and then got to work on the background.
For the background I used straight Ivory Black with a little bit of Burnt Umber mixed in. As you can see, there are no shadows in the background, which is very different way of working for me. After the background was finished, I continued on with the painting by getting the color and shadows on the rest of the canvas.
This was day two. I was still concentrating on building up the colors on the canvas. I also considerably lightened up the inside of the pewter bowl. Without the light against dark, it looked flat as opposed to round and the light added some much needed depth.
I think this was my fourth session with the painting. This is always a happy time - when the painting starts to look like it will actually be successful. To be honest, up until this point I was very uncertain about this one. Two things made the difference: Darkening up the shadows on the white cloth and the vase and using straight black for the black pattern on the vase. In real life, it is kind of a blue/black mix, but the blue was just not working with the black background. Once I changed to straight black, the vase really popped.
On the very last day, I put in the patterns on the vase and the white cloth.
This is the finished painting. I apologize for the very poor quality of this photo. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I photographed it, I had terrible results. We've had terrible weather here in New York the last few weeks and I just did not have the light for a decent photo. In frustration, I just turned on the lights in my studio and took the photo. Soon I will be able to varnish the painting and I hope I will be able to do some outdoor shooting soon. When I do, I will repost the photo.
Though there was some frustration, it is good to step out of your comfort zone occasionally. I will experiment a bit more with different backgrounds and fabrics in the future.