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Second still life, but first with SDM

......well almost! Do not have the correct Titanium White yet so could not pre mix all the colour groups but had to mix and paint as I went, but tried to follow the DMP principles as closely as possible. Really enjoyed using the SDM and the results it gives and look forward to doing more paintings with the correct white. This painting was from a photo I took of a still life I set up, printed to A4 and slipped into a clear plastic sleeve, as it was only intended as a practice piece I painted it on a sheet of canvas from a Fredrix canvas pad (9 x 12).

Any critique welcomed!
dencalvalentin[Deleted User][Deleted User]MauricestevensumrallCarmelrgr[Deleted User]jrbgolfsebsMikeOMark_Carder


  • PamT

    Splendid work. A beautiful still life.

    I would have filled my canvas to about 80 to 90% with the objects. What useful information does the viewer get from the white foreground tablecloth and light grey backcloth? The olives could be a tad more yellow. Some more reflected highlights exist in the upper part of the jug, these give important visual cues.

  • Thank you both for your comments.....points duly noted!
  • PamT

    On closer inspection the jug also shows reflections of the lemon and olives, and what might be a lit doorway or window behind the viewpoint. I would want these in to portray the ceramic glazed surface.


  • Painting is good, but next time I recommend taking the photo a little differently:

    1) shoot from further away, 4ft or so, about the distance you'd view the painting from — this was too close to the subject, which is why the perspective on the olive bowl compared to the big pitcher looks a bit off when you stand back and look at the painting or photo reference

    2) shoot in RAW if possible so you can process it, but regardless, don't overexpose the photo

    3) change the lighting if necessary (add fill light, reduce main light, whatever) to avoid the pitch black shadows if that's not what you're going for (which I'm assuming is the case since you didn't paint your shadows so dark)

    Painting-wise, really good!
  • Hi David, thank you so much for the advice (I am very much a novice at photography..a point and snap method as you can see!), will take on board the information and try and improve.
  • Nice realism - and nice progress from your first submission. Regarding your question on background, I'm a big fan of 'keying down', often to the point of deep umber, or black. If dark backgrounds is not your thing, then I suggest graying it down to the average mid-tone of your objects, so that your objects stand out more in value and in hue. You can adjust your lighting and background color to achieve this so you are not inventing it in your mind. A darker background makes it easier to create lost edges on the dark side of your objects, and more contrast on the light sides. And then you can soften edges that are not your focal point on the light side. Sometimes it's nice to key-up the values with sun shining through a window onto middle-value shadows.
  • Thanks for the advice Paintfork, I like the idea of working with a dark background and have actually done a couple of simple still life's in this manner (after looking at other people's work). Will also try and include the lost and found edges. Practice, practice, practice!
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