a still life #2

I have to say, this one has taken me a lot longer than I care to admit. I also took a great deal of care to make sure the proportions were right. Alas I’ve managed to make it to the end.

This is my favourite piece of work, the amount of time taken to get the colours as spot on as possible was ardeous but worthwhile. This time I used a reference photo, but the photo was from shutterstock and so I printed it at A3 size. Although more costly than usual, it helped me with the proportions and mapping out the painting.

Painted using oils on canvas.

Please comment and share if you enjoyed this one!


a still life of a pot, oranges and glass jar

a still life of a pot, oranges and glass jar

The Painter was never good at titles, a simple descriptive title will suffice! Simple.

This is a continuation of the sketch of my last post, it was supposed to be a series of posts, but I didn’t get round to posting them individually. Oops.

In any case, I am really happy that the DMP method is really helping me improve my skills! I feel like with each painting I am doing, I am learning something new. Colours were really important to me and I worked on that to make sure my colour checking is as best as it could be. There is still room for improvement.


Proportions are actually fine, it’s just that when I draw the objects, they can look wonky. That doesn’t matter much for organic objects, but for man-made ones, it is obvious when things don’t look right.

The glass jar was the one I was most afraid of painting because of the complex reflections, but that wasn’t nearly as daunting when the paint hit the canvas. There is much to be improved with my latest work, but these are encouraging signs for me on the road to improving my paintings!


Another note, background cloth, I can do much better. I will do much better.

A note to myself, setting up a still life can be laborious and time consuming. I will use high quality images from now on, it makes things easier. There is nothing that compares, though to a real life set up. Your eye captures shapes and colours in much better ways than can be seen in a picture.

Until next time my fellow readers!

a work in progress – still life practice sketch

This is my next painting and the painter has decided to be brave and show you the work progress for this one. I am still using the old DMP method. You’ll see the layers being built up.

You’ll also notice the stained canvas, I’ve opted for a dark tone, mainly because that is what I had on hand!

still life sketch

the still life of a mug

Right… where to start..?

I began my journey with this painting after stumbling on this nifty method, DMP (Draw, Mix, Paint). This method taught me A LOT. I also had a sinking feeling… I have so much more to improve!

Alas… the person who stares at the mountain will only dread to walk up it (or something like that). So, with that in mind, I set off to learn the basics and teach myself how to paint more realistically. As with any new method, it can feel unnatural, but this one didn’t feel unnatural in a bad way. I felt like this is what I have been needing to really hone my painting skills.

The painter, keen as ever for self-improvement, set out to follow this method. This was actually a still life painting. The basic premise is as follows:

  • Paint a coloured ground
  • Draw in proportion using a proportional divider
  • Mix paint with a medium
  • Use a limited palette
  • Lay out your colours prior to painting using a colour checker
  • Use a glass palette
  • Paint what you see
Still life of a mug using the Draw, Mix, Paint method

The only ones I was already doing was, painting a coloured ground and using a limited palette. A long road, then.

I also made my own proportional divider and still life shadow-box using cardboard boxes. Primitive, but they did the job, just about.

Well, like I said, I’ve learned a whole lot and even though this might not be the best representation of my learning, it does present a pathway. A pathway to keep me grounded and paint in true realism.

Also, I have realised the importance of using the right size brushes… where is that long list of painting equipment I need to buy..

the detailed flower


This time I decided to paint something close up rather than far away! Depth of field, well, that is one of my favourite camera tricks of all time.

I wondered whether this effect could be reproduced in a painting at all. The Painter was challenged and set off to beat it!

This was painted using Oils and on canvas. The trickiest bit, the pistil, I am still not happy with but the rest of the flower I feel very proud of. Though, I have since realised that varnishing will bring out the colours more strongly.

If you are interested in having a copy of this painting on a canvas, please contact me and we can sort something out 🙂

If you liked this, please like and subscribe to get posts from me instantly!

the self portrait


Well, well, self-portraits, the classic painting practice. The painter was just itching to paint himself, how vain can he be?

I realised that I wanted to do a self portrait, because in my early days of painting, it was all I could remember – how I really honed my self portrait skills and in oils too! Alas, those old portraits have all but vanished, I was too lazy to pick them up from my school before they got trashed. I know.. I know.. hey at least I am making up for it now!

The most important thing for me at this point was to understand value, how does value really change the look of the painting? What does true value actually add to the painting? So that’s why I have painted in black and white, you’re forced to think in these terms. I also did this relatively quickly so it was doubly satisfying – not that anyone should be proud of the fact that you achieve things quicker.

In a strange irony, I painted it quickly and roughly, purposely displaying the brush strokes proudly, however it is also one of my favourites. I have learned a great deal about leaving brush work as it is and letting the paint take form and not worrying so much about detail.

The brain loves to fill in gaps, so you need only suggest things subtly and it will do the rest. It’s what makes the ‘Creation of Adam’ painting even more powerful.

It’s one of the best things I love about painting. It probably will be a rare appearance, I likely won’t do any more portraits as land and city-scapes are more interesting to me.

Lots more to learn, lots more to improve.. step by step.. the skill will compound. Speak soon!

the new beginning


at painshill

Hello worthy readers! Boy was this painting difficult.

It was a wedding gift to my brother and sister-in-law, which they loved! I had wanted to create a painting for them and decided on this setting. Why you ask?

This was at the venue of where they got married, so I thought it was fitting. Little did they know that I was painting this so it was a surprise to them when they received it.

Also painted in acrylics and it was by far the most difficult painting I have had to do. The reflection was extremely tricky and I learned a lot by doing it, mainly, that I need to do more reflections to get lots of practice on!

I also learned that I wanted to become better at painting buildings, even though the only structure here was the small ruin.

There are only a few more paintings that I have left to write about from last year! Then we’ll get into the paintings that I am currently doing, which I can’t wait to show you all. The painter really feels like he is growing in skill!

Speak to you soon 🙂