Monday, November 28, 2011

Peony Peach Pitcher

This is for Rookie Painter Nov 2011 challenge, Peony Peach Pitcher challenge. It's oil on 12x16 canvas board.

The set up for this still life challenge is closer to a classical still life painting: multiple items cluster together, dark background, and light trying to come from one direction. (ref) However to me, this challenge reference photo had a number of issues that I need to work through. To get ideas on how to even approach this challenge, I revisited a book that I read last year, "Problem Solving for Oil Painters" by Gregg Kreutz, as well as classical still life paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin.

I thought the reference photo was too heavy on the right side with the big peony flower and while on the left there was this little plum. Behind the plum it seemed like there were some grapes hiding in the back. So I decided to put a few grapes in the foreground with the plum, which I later changed into a peach, trying to balance out the peony. The peony was also too bleached out in the photo, probably due to the strong flash light. I gave the flower more pinkish peachy color and a little more depth. Also, in order to achieve color harmony, instead of the redish / purplish colored plum on the left, I changed it to more orange color peach to match the pinkish peachy peony.

The lights and reflections on the water pitcher was too confusing and too much, especially with the flash light, the box, and reflections of the photographer with another person. So I simplified the pitcher. Color scheme was also a big issue. I decided to keep the background relatively cool in order to contrast the warm colored peony and peach. Finally, with the whole box framing the still life items, it would have been interesting had I not have to change so many things. So I decided to skip it so I have one fewer thing to worry about.


  1. This is beautiful and neat! Lovely composition and color choices. Very well done.