I set this up a couple of weeks ago and just got around to painting it this afternoon. The flower is synthetic – the brass is solid. You might remember the tall Indian brass ewer from a couple of months ago. I now have quite a collection of brass, pewter and silver-plate, all waiting for their turn in a still life.

Sunflower and brass jug pitcher still life oil painting by Andy Dolphin
Yellow flower with brass
25×30cm oil on board. 
 © Andy Dolphin

My intent here was to treat this as an exercise in saturated colour and tonal separation. I wasn’t trying for a finished painting but with a little more work after it’s dried, it just might end up in a frame.

After marking the approximate location of the three main shapes, I roughed in the darkest shadow areas then methodically filled in mid tones, shadows then highlights.

I gave little thought to the objects as “things” and paid attention only to the relative values, hues and colour temperatures of adjacent areas.

Polished brass is interesting because we think of it as being a warm yellow sort of colour but its surface reflects all the colours around it, warm and cool. I was amazed just how accurately it reflected the red table cloth.

The photo was taken under a combination of incandescent and fluorescent light and I struggled to reduce reflection off the still-wet brush strokes. I guess I need a polarising filter to help with that.