I recently finished a new still life. This painting was a bit different for me. I did not use one of my usual blue and white vases. Instead I did something new and went with red and white.
Back in September, I attended a still life workshop with Gregg Kreutz at the Chelsea Gallery and Studio in Huntington, NY.
We started the day with a demo, then we all moved on to our own set ups.
This was the original set up. I made one change right away. I started the painting as if the still life were resting on a wooden shelf instead of on the fabric. An all fabric still life can sometimes be trouble, especially if the fabric does not have a pattern. As Gregg says, you want to be sure your painting does not look like a window display at Macys. I blocked it in and then got to work on the background and covering the canvas with color.
The block in went pretty well and I did manage to get the rest of the painting covered by the end of the first day.
On the second day of the workshop, I continued putting in the color. I tried to get as much done as possible since I would not have the set up available after the workshop finished.
This was the painting at the end of the workshop. It was nowhere near finished, but a pretty good outcome for me. I rarely get very far during workshops, so I was happy that I had enough done that I could attempt to finish in my own studio.
I worked on the painting for a few sessions and while it was going well, the bottle was just not happening. It was hard to paint when it was in front of me. There was no way I could do it from memory.
Instead of giving up on the painting, I subbed in one of my own porcelain vases. I decided to go with a red and white vase this time. You know I love my blue and white, but the red made a nice change and fit in well with the rest of the painting.
I drew in the shape and went to work from there. It took quite a few coats of paint before the vase began to look like porcelain, but there is no way around that. You have to take the time to get the base right before you paint in the pattern.
I'm not sure if you can tell the difference in the photos, but the more coats of paint I put on the vase the more it started to look like porcelain. After five or six tries I was finally happy with the look of the vase and added in the pattern.
And here is the finished painting. I had a good time doing something new and I'm thinking about getting some different colored vases for future paintings.
If something is not working in a painting, don't be afraid to change it up!