Rose Still Life Oil Painting

The Paul Foxton rose still life oil painting is not finished but a long way along. This was the final session in the workshop and it’s been the best one so far. The painting is almost at the end point. I can probably finish the painting after another session. Phew!

We’ve been on this workshop for 8 weeks and we’ve done various aspects of the full painting before spending the last 2 sessions on the final thing. We’ve done a value study, a color study, a close-up of the roses, and a session on painting cloth which I didn’t post about for some reason. The first session didn’t involve painting but Paul took us through how he sets up and lights a still life. My interest in this a year ago would have been pretty small. However, the setup is an extremely important part of the painting. If your setup doesn’t work well the painting never will.

In progress

Michele Clamp oil painting easel setup
Michele Clamp oil painting easel setup

I try and keep a tidy painting station as far as possible. I’m used to painting with watercolor and it’s easier to keep the paint under control (on the palette if not the paper). The paint does wash off (mostly) but with oils it can get everywhere if you’re not careful. A near mid-value gray on my glass palette makes it easier to judge the values of mixes. Probably due to my watercolor background I try to use only a few brushes which does mean I have to clean them as I go. The upside is cleanup at the end of a session is pretty quick.

This rose still life oil painting has been my most ambitious oil painting to date. Paul has done a lot of the heavy lifting of course. His setup was fabulous and he took us through all of the mixing and the brushwork as we went along. I highly recommend him as a teacher. His knowledge of color and mixing is worth it alone.

Rose Still Life Color Study

Still working with Paul Foxton’s latest still life workshop. This week was the rose still life color study. It’s not the whole composition but contains the main elements. I went a bit beyond where I intended today as this was just meant to be a color block in. It was a pretty intense session nonetheless. We accurately mixed all the main colors and some were pretty tricky.

Rose Still-Life Color Study – Munsell to the Rescue

I have the big Munsell color book. This contains about 1600 different paint chips covering most of the colors possible in paint. It’s been invaluable in making me more aware of color. Especially how to mix it both for oil painting and watercolor. I hadn’t realized how bad my color perception and mixing skills were before I started using it. If you want to know more about Munsell see this post. It also includes information on the online ChromaMagic tool which helps you see color more accurately.

After mixing everything for the rose still life color study putting the paint on the canvas went pretty quickly. We weren’t meant to put in petals – bad Michele! However, I wanted to see how it would look and how hard it was going to be to get the pink rose to read well. I had to do a lot of single touch strokes with no blending. This was to get the color changes between the edges of the petals and the higher chroma inner parts. I’m very glad I did this – the full thing doesn’t seem so daunting any more.

Sometimes Cheap Surfaces Aren’t the Best Option

The surface was just a cheapo cardboard canvas panel. These are surprisingly good to work on and only cost around $1 a time. As it came out so well I almost wish I’d done it on something more substantial.

The whole session was a long one – around three hours I think. It’s a long time as you’re focusing intently for the full extent . At the end I was glad to put the brushes down at the end. Paul did give us a couple of tea breaks though 🙂

David Austin Roses

We planted three David Austin rose bushes this year. Our track record with plants is hit or miss to put it generously so I was pretty pleased that they all flowered albeit sparsely and with tiny blooms. However – these are our own roses grown by our own fair hands. I don’t think this is quite finished yet. I need to leave it on the easel and see what it needs in the next couple of days. I’m pretty happy at the moment though. The values are good, the edges have a nice variety to them and they have some life.

Here are some intermediates:

This is the block in stage with the major values. Pretty much 2 or 3 for each flower, 2 for the leaves and 2 for the background. All hard edges right now and it looks pretty nasty.

All the edges are now softened with a combination of a comber brush and a soft sable. At this point I can start to see which areas will be left soft and which will be sharpened up.

Start of the sharpening stage.

This is right at the start of the process of refining and sharpening up the edges. Only a few edges have gone in but you can see it start to come to life. This is the magic bit!

Current state after refining edges

This is the current state. The edges have been redefined, some petal detail has gone in and some extra values. A good day’s work I think.

Rose Oil Painting – Block In Session

It’s a long haul this oil painting lark. Today was a 4 hour block in session. I’m working larger today on a 16″x20″ panel which was a lesson in itself. More paint, bigger brushes, and trying to keep the shapes interesting at a bigger scale.

First the drawing.

All the main colors were pre-mixed as we’d already done a color study.

The main rose colors went in along with some of the dark greens to check values.

Starting the block-in with light and shadow colors

More colors on the background flowers.

The final block in with all hard edges

Final Block-In with Softened Edges

And the final block in with all edges softened. Next will be refining the drawing, sharpening up some edges and putting in detail. Phew!