new still life WIP (done I think)

RonHopRonHop -
edited April 2017 in Post Your Paintings
Hello all,

Here's what is on my easel right now. 11x14 Geneva Oil on Gesso Board. I drew everything with a brush and (regular oils) burnt umber. I have been correcting the drawing with dividers as I go along. Just trying out new ways of doing things. The drawing of the skull on the right was waaaay off! Hope you are all healthy and happy!



  • That's looking good, the books look amazing!
  • Wow, what a great composition. The idea of having the skull looking at you through the mirror is brilliant. The books look great. This is going to be a very good painting.
  • This is a nice lesson you're giving us here. Thanks for showing the progression. And the books are amazingly good. Mirrored images are quite a challenge. You're really great at this.
  • I think it is great! 
  • Love the painting. Happy Anniversary! :)
  • Happy anniversary! Enjoying the WIP, looking good.
  • Happy Anniversary! Thanks for the update.
  • Fantastic, Happy Anniversary!
  • Looking good.  Happy anniversary!
  • It's looking good, @Ronhop. The bottles look pretty well drawn too me.
  • Really good so far. Love your brush work!
  • Seriously? You're going to have the skull reflected in the bottle? I wish there was another word for Awesome, it is totally overused but definitely appropriate here. I can't wait to see how this comes out.
  • Thanks again everyone. @BOB73 The skull doesn't really reflect into the center of the bottle but is on the periphery :) That does sound pretty awesome though :/ Maybe I can do one like that in the future.
  • It's looking fabulous, @RonHop! I really hope you finish it. It would be a shame to have come this far with it only to abandon it - especially since it's looking so good and shaping up to be a really fine still life.
  • edited March 2017
    @RonHop the challenge of painting from still life requires a different commitment from the artist, as you are learning and sharing with us so wonderfully. And it takes a while to grow into it, what you describe above is perfect. At some point many pains and struggles iron themselves out and become more of a pleasure and fun. Patience is important here, this helps in slowing things down, furthermore  this will improve confidence in yourself and in your work, maybe just the type that you are really looking for. My challenge is to learn to slow down enough, how much is enough? I know by the feeling when I get there. I also find that spending time drawing a still life, a study or in detail on paper before engaging myself into painting the still life, and sometimes my lack of patience (maybe the artists curse) doesn't want to do it that way, and I pay the more painful price for it. Patience is more important than gratification, at the same time more patience brings greater sense of satisfaction and gratification in the end, often more than ever anticipated. Great work!
  • I love it Richard, it is very good!
  • @Ron, I think this is fabulous! It really draws the viewer in. I like the fact that it is not 'tight' but loosely painted so that we get to see the brushwork. It's realistic but we are in no doubt it's a painting and not a photograph. Well done!
  • Very very beautiful! I especially love the glassbottles!
  • This is fantastic! The lighting and the atmosphere are great!
  • Thanks Rob, Sarah, and Forgiveness :) I love the crowd in this forum! That was my goal, Rob :) I'm going to loosen up the left side of those books too. I'm so tired of clenching my cheeks while painting. The abstraction is way more interesting than wrote copying (IMHO) and I want to get better at that. I think it's time to relax a bit and have fun with it. I am gearing up now to start plein air. It's starting to get warm here again :D
  • @RonHop You have well and truly bottled the spirit and boned the mood. Yorick would be very pleased.


  • @RonHop. This is by no means a "fail". I think it's one of your very best paintings. It"s fantastic! Especially the skull. I think painting from life has brought out the real painter in you. Well done!
  • Fantastic that you painted this from life! The sense of presence and realism is like no other. I encourage you to try another from life, when you are ready. I recommend for next time, maybe take more time and fun to set up a still life that might better hold your attention and especially hold your interest, something that you might like more, or set up a challenge that you might prefer to further develop your skills. Something that you may enjoy more, that you can really sink your teeth into, something that may mean something more to you, if you know what I mean. This is a fantastic painting, thank you so much for sharing the process with us.
  • Indeed; Yorick is very pleased with your reflections. Alas he is also distressed that you might feel that this work could ever be deemed a faiure.


  • There are a lot of positives in it that you can incorporate in your next ones (the big ones). Excellent stuff! This is not a fail anywhere. Maybe the glasses need a bit more work on the edges but no problems anywhere else.
  • @Kaustav, @BOB73 , @Forgiveness, @Flatty and @tassieguy , Thank you very much for your kind words. You guys are way too kind. But, I just don't see this one as a win.

    I feel very hypercritical of it for some reason. I think the bottle in the mirror (compositionally) ruins the piece. It divides the panel in 2 and just seems to float there. I didn't think the cropping would be a big deal until I really looked at it. I think that even if I painted the reflected bottle perfectly the painting would still be lacking :/ Maybe a larger format for the support and some rearranging of the items would make this one shine (to me). 

    I do however love how I was able to blur the bottle and skull on the left side, albeit the highlights should be blurred more and subdued. I tried to make the skull in the mirror the true focus of the piece but I just couldn't seem to make the books blurred more :/ I was too attached to them being pretty.

    Like I said, I think it is a good step forward, but I will do my best to emphasize composition on the next one.

    I know this system emphasizes the alla prima technique, but I found laying the second layer to be a huge boon in the process. Especially if you like to use your finger as a brush. Moving things around that way makes for some interesting transitions and effects.

    Side note: I do think that matching color has become way easier for me. I just hold the brush up now to compare if I'm not sure. It is also readily obvious to me now if the color is off as soon as I lay it to panel. No more color checker. This system has definitely helped me improve drastically in that decisions are more rapidly made and mistakes are more rapidly rectified. I am very grateful for everyone's opinion and that you people take the time to let me know what you think. Thank you for that, very much!
  • and you forgot to mention how incredibly perfect and lovely those books are!!!  The skulls remind me of when I was in dental hygiene school - we literally brought home real skulls to practice head and neck anatomy and where facial nerves and vessels went in and out with varying colors of wire - is that skull real?   To me, I am so drawn to those books (I don't know if you intended them to be the focal point) but it works - I didn't even notice the reflective bottle right in the middle until you mentioned it.  Don't be so hard on yourself!
  • I agree, the books are terrific!
  • I think if you took a picture of it and reversed it you would see that this is not a bad composition. and the books are fantastic. I f Iwould paint this over again I might show more of the mirrored reflection of the books. It still a terrific job no matter how you look at it.
  • @Julianna Thank you :) That sounds like an interesting way to learn A&P The depicted skull is fake. Real ones cost too much :/ I would love to have one though :0

    Thanks @Richard_P :) Surprisingly to me, I spent the least amount of time on them :/ Maybe I should hurry along with all parts of my paintings :dissapointed:

    @BOB73 I agree with you on that :) I will work harder on composition for the next one.

    Thank you all!
  • love the reflection of the skull in the bottle. 
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