Sunday, April 18, 2010

Still Life Painting Demonstration:

(Update 1/18/12) For a French translation of this post please click here for a downloadable PDF file:

Back in March I hosted a two week "Still Life Painting Workshop" out of my studio. The following images are from the demonstration piece I worked on throughout the workshop. It was not fully finished by the end of the workshop and so I completed it afterwards. I estimate that it took about 58 hours in total time from beginning to end. Yes all that time for a small 9" x 12" painting.

Previous to this image I did a careful linear drawing on paper. In this first image the drawing has been transferred (using an oil transfer) to an oil primed stretched linen (which was previously toned). After the transfer dried I did a raw umber "wash-in" to quickly get a sense of the form and structure. It is keyed much lighter than what the final values will be.

The completed wash in. I also used white to lighten some areas slightly.

This image shows the start of my √©bauche or first block-in with color. This is still an under-painting and will all be repainted. As with the wash in it is still keyed slightly lighter than what the final values will be. It can be thought of as a rough draft—the content has been stated but still needs proof reading.

In this image some of the painting has received a final pass (the proof reading). I carefully rendered each object, form by form, finishing as I went.

And of course the final painting. Thanks for taking a look!


  1. Abosolutely outstanding! I appreciate you sharing your process with us. Would love to have seen it in person. Maybe one day I will be able to attend a session!

  2. Morning Doug,
    Let me be among the first to remark on your new piece. As usual your work sets the bar to a high standard for all of us, your students in particular, to aspire to. A beautifully finished work.

    Onward and upward ~ Charley Morgan

  3. It is beautifully executed. I love it's simplicity. I am truly inspired.


  4. Beautiful painting Doug. I can now start to imagine the focus and commitment each painting must take. Your methods certainly yield fantastic results!

  5. Thank you everyone for your comments!

  6. it is great to see how much time you put into the drawing before you start to paint. i have recently added this way preparation to my work. i was taught to draw with the brush but always found myself fixing shapes over and over again. i like now breaking up the stages as you have show. i had one question, when you are making your finishing pass over things are you repainting the whole section? or are you darkening and lightening little things around the whole?

  7. Hi Brian,
    When I am working on the finishing pass I am completely repainting the whole section. For me this seems to work best. Thanks for the comment.

  8. Doug, I looking again at this post and I must say that is a beautiful painting and a beautiful process. Every step has is own beauty.

    May I ask you a question about the progression?
    Between the wash in in raw umber, that seems very diluted, and the color ebauche, you change the transparency of the painting? In other words, should be right to say that the color ebauche is more opaque than the wash in, but more transparent than the final pass?

    Well, thanks again for share this kind of work and process!