After playing around with Photoshop and making a small still life digital painting of an apple last week, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and give real still life another go. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it.

I had to search around for a working lamp and clear a corner to set up a basic shadow box (actually a towel draped over an old easel and a bunch of storage boxes stacked to make the table top with a piece of clear acrylic on top for a reflective surface).

Then I had to decide what I was going to paint. This is where I usually stop because nothing seems remotely interesting. I sorted through some junk I bought three years ago – for doing still lifes – and found a wonky ceramic vase. I snipped some bright red chrysanthemum flowers (lucky Mother’s Day was last Sunday) and set them up under the lamp.

It didn’t look too bad so I grabbed one of my primed 20x24cm canvas panels and began.

Here’s the result after a couple of hours. Click for a bigger pic.

(Red & Blue #1, 20x24cm oil on canvas panel. © 2010, Andy Dolphin)

A few minor things bug me, mostly related to the process, but all in all I’m pretty pleased with it. With winter only a few weeks away, I think I’ll be doing a bit more of this.

I used a limited palette of ultramarine, crimson and cad yellow light. This was fine until I came to put the bright red highlights on the outer florets. Mixing crimson and yellow just didn’t cut it so I put some cad scarlet out and used that for the warmest reds. Still, four colours plus white is limited by most standards.