My latest still life painting features another op-shop treasure. I tried several different arrangements using this round-bottomed, squat brass vase, and finally settled on this one.

Brass vase and flowers still life oil painting by Andy Dolphin
Flowers with brass vase
25×30cm oil on board. 
 © Andy Dolphin

As with previous paintings, the flowers are synthetic. This allows me time to experiment with arrangements without worrying about the flowers succumbing to the heat from the lamp. In fact, I can set things up one day and then start the painting days, or even weeks, later without everything wilting and dying.

I’m more interested in composition and colour than the accurate portrayal of particular species of plants, so I have no need for living specimens at this stage.

Interestingly, the most difficult part of this painting was polishing the vase. It was very tarnished but had a lacquer coating that was impervious to lacquer thinners and had to be removed with lots of elbow grease and car polish.