It seems that I have a hard time setting up a still life without adding something reflective. I’m like a raccoon hoarding my little growing collection of shiny still life objects. Silver and Oranges, completed in January, is no different. Perhaps it will become one of my staples. Continue reading to learn about the pitcher, a painting technique reveal and a gallery of the painting’s progression from beginning to end.
One of my other staples is including objects in my paintings that have significant meaning or age. There’s something I can’t explain about old books, skeleton keys or something that my grandmother used to own that speaks to me and makes me feel connected to these items and their history. Silver and Oranges holds its own historical significance to me.
This beautiful little pitcher, standing five inches tall, belonged to my husband’s great-grandmother. “Grammy” we called her. Full of spunk to be sure. She could knit up a storm. Her double knit blankets (where the pattern is reversed on the other side simultaneously) were legendary among the entire family. Sadly, she passed away this year. When we went up for her services my husband and his Mom were able to work on the family history and thanks to a concubine of William “the Lion” King of Scotts being in the linage, the family line had already been traced all the way back to around 7AD. It was a special time of looking through old photographs and hearing about the family history.
I was blessed to be able to take home several pieces of her silver and old books which I use to decorate my home. But I also look forward to using them in my paintings.
Here’s a little art secret to look for when you’re viewing art. All artists have this card called an artistic license. Sort of like a driver’s license, but with MUCH more freedom and infinite perks. And we often use this license even when painting realistically from life.
You might have noticed that the painting overall is very orange, peach or creamy. There’s not much blue. You only get a real break from all of the warmth because of the pitcher, but even that is a warm gray. This can cause a painting to be boring an appear monochromatic. It’s important for me to keep this from happening. While I painted, I looked for opportunities to give you a break from all of the “heat” by adding some subtle color that wasn’t actually there in real life. (gasp) But it’s okay because I did it for YOU!
I’ve outlined in the top detailed photo where you can see a little tint toward blue. Also you may notice that in some parts, the blue color is the same “value”(lightness or darkness) as the gold next to it. Squint while looking and you’ll see they blend into each other even though they’re different colors. This technique can be very subtle but it’s just enough variation away from the gold to help give some needed balance. I did this all over the painting to give interest and variation to the painting.
We artists don’t want your eyes or brain getting bored, so sometimes an artist has to push the colors a little bit. Now the next time you view my paintings, or are at a gallery, you can look for this technique.
Enjoy the progression of the painting below with some explanation in the captions. Click on an image to see it in better detail.