My Latest Still Life Painting (“A Summer Morning”) & its DevelopmentsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #painting2 years ago

My Latest Still Life Painting (“A Summer Morning”) & its Development


A Summer Morning
18" x 24"
Oil on canvas


Greetings Everyone,

It has been quite a while since writing here on Steemit!

During this much needed break there were just so many changes I had to make in the way I was living. Honestly it was time well spent. I feel rested and clear minded.

Now after working intensely everyday for a month I am now ready to unveil and share my latest still life painting.

As of now I believe this has been the most ambitious, complex and engaging still life I’ve ever worked on.

Besides for the obviously intricate composition, the perspective was especially unique to my normal way of working.


In the beginning of course I started with a block in drawing and transferred it onto the painting surface. While I was wanting to refine as much as I could before painting, at the same time I also wanted to keep the drawing “open” so that I could alter the composition if need be. Once transferred I then sealed it with ink. Micron pens are great for this step!


Here is a quick shot of the poster study (5” x 7”) I executed before committing to the final compositional armature drawing.

These little poster studies are a great technique for working out all the bugs before deciding to engage upon a larger painting. This study was very helpful in that it assisted in grasping a better idea on the composition and overall color scheme. When finished I knew that I wanted to go for a kind of Tadema/ Herbert Draper feel for the work.


As this painting I would say is relatively high key, and being a preferred and wiser approach to work from the back to the front I began with the white drapery. Working slightly into the adjacent objects at this stage would ensure a greater control towards edgework when I start on those objects later on.


Now working on one of the darkest objects in the painting would now close and define the parameters of the value range within the still life. With the pitcher on the right, I made sure to never let any white to creep into the darks as to ensure their warmth, depth and transparency. It appears that no matter how hard or often I work on them, ellipses remain to be challenging and elusive.


With all of the movement and complexity the rose petals provided, at this stage I went for a loose and generalized approach in order to preserve their overall gesture on the table. Once I was able to capture the right kind of flow and energy I was after, later on I could lock in and refine the individual petals as needed without breaking the gesture.


After massing in the Victorian butter container I then moved towards the cookies, teacup and napkin. Working on the foreground was particularly enjoyable in that provided a sort of relief and added dimension to the rest of the painting.


While I attempted to zero in on each section and aim for a final finish before moving on to the next, there was just no way around it. With the composition as energetic as it was, I was forced or guided I should say to work all over the painting simultaneously. Logically there was just no way to completely commit on a single object in one take only to possibly find out later that I would have to fix all that hard work. I really wanted to preserve the overall design with this work.


I actually forgot how many passes this still life took. And as much as I needed to correct whenever I found something that needed to be changed, I still approached this painting as methodical as I could.

Later on I decided to remove some of the darker petals and add more of the lighter pink ones. Working on all of the cast shadows in this painting I thought was pretty fun. You would think at first that they would be all comparatively uniform, but in fact all of them had different temperatures and fleeting qualities.


..Aaaaannd it’s finished!!


Thanks for reading Everyone!

-James Hansen

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Wooaw.... Such an amazing still life painting you have in there. It really looks awesome and it always a great feeling to represent live object on a canvas.

I admire your work and such a talent you have. Using brushes and paints to tell a story in its amazing way is quite a great thing to do. Great piece and keep the artist spirit up always

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@ferrate Thank you so much :)

You are humbly welcome

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Thank you for this comprehensive post, love the way how your painting is building up, it is difficult to imagine that it is a simple sketch initially but at the end I even could not tell if the tea spoon and butter container are real or painted. You managed to make them very realistic. Enjoyed very much your steps and this is like a tutorial for me the way how to build up the painting. Thank you for taking time and explaining that :)

@stef1 You're very welcome. I'm glad you liked it :)

These are great progress photos and an amazing painting. Shadowing and highlights are so good that it makes it look like a real 'life'. You really did a great job especially with the cup, flowers and that box for butter.

Oh, and your cookies look delicious. I would enjoy one with my afternoon tea :)

Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your curie vote! Very well deserved!

At the first look of it I thought it was real, I thought it's the materials you will use in painting. Then as I was reading ot, I realised thst it's the finished painting. Forgive my ignorance. haha

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Hi jameszenartist,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

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