Still life with blue bottles and lemons – step-by-step

Still lifes are usually my least favorite topic for painting; I’d much rather paint people or landscapes.  But sometimes still life paintings are easier to work into my schedule or to deal with the weather.

I selected this still life based on one that I recently saw in a musuem show.  I liked the quiet contemplative nature of the subject and layout.  (The other one did not have any blue bottles or lemons in it, but it did have a twig in it.)

I played around with the set up for a while and eventually removed most of the objects that I had selected.  It’s very simple.  The size is 18 x 24, oil on canvas.

The actual set up with blue bottles and lemons.

The actual set up with blue bottles and lemons.

You will notice that I ended up cropping the top of the painting.  As you look at the steps, you’ll see where I leave things in, leave things out, blur some lines.  I personally don’t care much for photo-realism but that’s my opinion.  This was painted on a toned canvas and I spend about three days on it for a total of about ten hours.

Still life, blue bottles and lemons.  Step 1

Still life, blue bottles and lemons. Step 1

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, step 2

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, step 2

I decided to paint the background first in order to better define the objects.  

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, step 3

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, step 3

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, step 4

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, step 4

Final still life with detail.  My photo editing program is making this a little too blue and too cool, but you get the idea.  Notice on the detail image how I’ve carried the colors of the objects into their shadows.  And a lemon is not just yellow, it’s a multiple of colors.  One of the true advantages of painting still lifes is that they make you really look at and observe what you are seeing.

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, final.  18x24 oil on canvas

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, final. 18×24 oil on canvas

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, detail

Still life, blue bottles and lemons, detail

One response to “Still life with blue bottles and lemons – step-by-step

  1. Pingback: What artists do with too much time on their hands | my90acres

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