Studio and Close-up of still life setup

I’m starting a new painting.  Having selected the objects and played-around with a lot of arrangements until I found one I like, the next step is to take some Polaroids to check the values and manipulate the framing of the painting.  The Polaroid image loses all the subtle details, so I can use it to check that the arrangement of the major lights and darks is correct. I can also adjust my cropping of the image at this stage. Notice that I’ve chosen to add more room for the vertical surface at the bottom of the painting.


Next I create a careful, full-size line drawing and overlay that with tracing paper on which I paint a value (black-and-white) study. I cannot post the line drawing today because it is covered by tracing paper and wet paint now, but I have a similar drawing from an earlier painting here: Vase and Squash.

Value study

I’ve already made some subtle changes between the actual objects and the way they will appear in the painting.  For example, I’ve made the background pot darker and also darkened the onion and changed the shape of its stem. I want the stem to echo the other curves in the painting and to lead a viewers eye to the squash on its left. At this stage, I like the composition and the light, but I still don’t know if it will be good enough to make a final painting of.