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Choosing this still life was made easy by my sister arriving to stay for the weekend with a nice bunch of colourful flowers for me.

Setting up my still life in the kitchen I made a few quick sketches DSC_0102

At first it seemed obvious that a vase of flowers would lend itself to portrait format, the sketch was a little to up close ant I felt that this may not be deemed a still life.  Trying landscape it became necessary to step back a little and add something else to the picture.  Trying brushes was a little dull.


I finally added a cup and saucer, which then made it feel that a square format may suit this best.

I had been experimenting a bit in my sketchbook at the time with texture and scraffito combined and felt I would be bold for this exercise and go for that as well.


Thinking of the Dutch still life pictures with the dark ground I laid my paper with tissue and painted over a red/black colour, not wanting to go the full black, thinking this would be kinder to the flowers.


From the last exercise, where we had drawn with paint, I dived straight in and started to build up the picture.DSC_0094

As I worked I scratched into the surface to help accentuate the shapes and add details


At this point I really felt that I may have made a mistake with the texture and the scraffito and the dark colour.  Perhaps I had overloaded the experimentation a bit!! However the next day I ploughed on and worked on lightening the background and accentuating the colours.





This now needed cropping to a more square pic to balance it.



Final Picture

Lessons Learnt

Went well.

  • I experimented – big time for me, this is unlike anything I have ever painted.
  • I used scraffito and feel that it worked well on the flowers and the vase in particular.
  • Painting without drawing I am starting to enjoy, it makes you very aware before touching the page.
  • The preliminary sketches do help, even though I find it hard to do as I am impatient to get on with things they do mean you have to look at your set up for longer and make more considered choices.

Went not so well 😐

  • On reflecttion I feel this would have benefited from being a much larger painting, it lost its flow a bit as I tightened up within the small A3 size.
  • My colours were not bright enough for my taste.  It may be the painting on a dark ground, it may also be that at the moment I have quite a limited amount of oil paints.
  • I think that maybe I should have gone with texture or scraffito and not both.  This is fine on close inspection but gets a little lost from a distance.