How to set up a still life

First set up with china dish.

Final set up. Cup with silver spoon. Fixed silver foliage later.

Setting up a still life for painting is more than just throwing a random collection of objects on a table.  Your painting will often be more successful if you choose a theme or do a little planning first.

In this case, I had a pair of brass doves and decided to work a theme around them.  Just for a challenge, I wanted it to involve mostly shiny objects.  Rather than line everything up in a row, I like to overlap objects.  In this particular case, I chose a shiny satin fabric, some silvery foliage, a china cup, and a silver spoon.  I played with the light, moving it back then forward.  I also tried out some colored gels for the light but in the end, did not use them.

See the photos for the progression of the still life from beginning to the final set.

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