Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Still Life Demo

Panetonne e caffè
10" x 8" oil on linen panel

These are the steps I took in painting this Italian delicacy called Panettone which is basically a small fruit cake. Enjoy!

Here's the set up. It's just a cardboard box with a small 'window' cut out of the top and the front face removed. This allows for great control over the lighting - especially the shadow shapes which are so important. Thanks to David Tanner for showing me how effective this is.

You can see the shadows are well defined here. Always choose a subject that interests you. I happen to be a fan of Italian fruit cake! The coffee was fresh brewed too! Choose objects which have a good contrast - like the white plates against the black - and the rich cake color against the white of the plate. You might also choose things which have emotional contrast or things which are thematically harmonious - you get the idea.

The drawing. Don't be too hasty here get the drawing right... Try to arrange the shapes on your canvas as interestingly as possible. Composition is so important!

There are so many ways to approach a painting. I chose a method which is popular among plein air painters: Laying in the darkest shadow shapes first.

Another approach is to put down the colors which are easiest to identify. That's what I did here. I purposefully kept the brushstrokes energetic here.

I went back the addressing the shadows here. In this lighting - these shadow areas are the richest in color.

Making progress... I'm starting to evaluate edges - hard vs. soft


Detail (1)

Detail (2)


Ty Carter said...

This is Awesome Eric, Thanks for sharing your process

PleinEric said...

Thanks Tyler, I know it's review for many but I hope it's helpful for others.

paintopolis said...

We all have similar ways of doing some things and very different ways of doing others -- it's always nice to see how another artist works. I may have to borrow your box idea -- been thinking about a way to isolate painting subjects for awhile. -- Kevin

PleinEric said...

Hey Kevin, yes - I LOVE to see how other artists work... especially their paint application. The box idea has pros and cons... it's definitely different than the plein air approach in that the shadows are dark and well defined - not colorful and diffused. You can experiment with different colors lining your box for some interesting bounce light effects. On the pro side - you are in complete control and time is not an issue. Can't wait to see your results!

billspaintingmn said...

I find this very helpful and interesting!
The final painting looks great!
Your brushstrokes and color has an
intelligence to it.
Eric, the art work on this blog is
fun and inspiring.

PleinEric said...

Glad to hear it Bill. If I can be consistently helpful and interesting I'd be really pleased!

Blessings to you!

Craig Granger said...

Eric, love the box setup and will try to build one like it. I have always wrestled with controlling the light. Good work and hope to see more.

PleinEric said...

Thanks for stopping by Craig. Let me know how you like the 'box set-up'... I was told that the ideal way to control the bounce light and shadows is to paint the inside of the box black in color. It's completely the opposite of what a plein air artist is looking for - but I think it is valuable to try both methods. Enjoy!

Michael Pieczonka said...

nice work here Eric. Very interesting to see the pics, still life set-up and the progression pics. Your finished piece is nice and painterly..well done!

cheers, Michael.

PleinEric said...

Thank you Michael. I'll be posting another progression piece this week. Thanks for stopping by!