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In this exercise we are asked to Draw with paint, beginning with finding a still life rather than setting one up.


Choosing to paint a part of my dressing table I started with sketches to decide on composition. The first composition was from too far away and included much more than necessary and the picture was unbalanced. I had lost the top of the bottle on the left and there was a vast empty area in the bottom right.

I knew that the awkwardly balanced jars would be tricky but decided to leave these as they made it look like a more real scenario (I’m not naturally neat !!).






The second attempt was better, but now I had zoomed in, as it were, slightly too much and I felt it looked a little cramped.

(I am using a new chunky graphite stick and really enjoying the feel and flexibility of it as a useful tool).









In this sketch I felt that I had it upon the right composition and tackled a little tone  as well as a guide for the painting.









Just in case I tried one more as I hadn’t looked at landscape format.

Here the picture became far too divided diagonally in half with little or nothing on the top triangle.  All that was reflected was the window behind ….so preferring version 3, I decided to move on.









Having some very strong mixed media paper I chose that and gave the whole paper a light grey wash in acrylic.

I had been advised to try oils, despite my dislike of the time factor, and so “drew my layout in a burnt umber shade.  Delighting in the fact that I could rub out mistakes as the oil didn’t stick to the acrylic whilst still wet. – Very Useful.

Some kind fellow students had given my advise on oils that dry quickly and the use of Liquin to help oil dry quicker.








Starting to fill the colours, being a bit wary not having painted with oils.  Finding the right thickness of paint and how to mix. Pleasant discovery that I can alter the shapes as I go, not having drawn with paint before.   I had always “filled in a drawing” previously.







At this point I decided to try something that I had experimented with in my sketchbook.  With oil pastels I had rubbed them through with a q-tip.






I used this idea for the reflection in the mirror.  I am pleased with the effect.  I haven’t managed the rest of the reflection in the mirror, but I figure its a start.







I realised that the jar was not quite right and that I had the uprights behind the jars too light.

In future I will need to do a whole object in one colour at the same time…. because , this was a different day and I needed to mix the colour again





Final picture, far from perfect, but I am happy with my first oil painting. 🙂

Made the decision not to go for all the writing on the bottles and jars – I wasnt going for photo realism after all.




Close up of the experimental mirror reflection idea.


A few days later

Coming back and looking at this again……I suddenly saw that my little brown dropper bottle was floating…..hovering above the dressing table.  How odd that I didn’t see it at the time.  It appears so obvious now……so I put another glaze over the shadows and slightly by the edge of the white jar.

Lesson learnt…..take some time to go back and look again after some time has passed, either the time or the practice of photographing the work and blogging it gives me some distance and I see the work differently.