My paints are mixed in 9 values ranging from white to black. There are many more values possible, but I find that 9 lets me represent a set-up well. I’ve numbered them right on the palette, as usual, for easy identification.

Above is my first pass. I’ll need to let this layer of paint dry before I can make corrections. Otherwise, it all smears together and makes a mess. Looking at this, I noticed that though I had made my vantage point lower, and adjusted the bricks in the drawing, I hadn’t corrected the basket and the square glass plate enough. They are still seen from too high. In other words, too much of their top surfaces are visible. I can fix this here, in the study, at my next session. If it looks good, I’ll have to go back and correct the pencil drawing underneath.

Above is the study after my next session. You can see that less of the top surface of the basket is now visible and the ellipses are shallower. I also corrected the glass plate, painting it at a shallower angle. I’ve gone over everything again, correcting values, adding details, and brightening highlights. The paperweight is more sharply defined, and I indicated the weave on the basket. I decided to darken the shadow area on the far right side (not so noticeable in the photos) and show more of the bits of light showing through the crate that makes the right-side wall. I thought that they livened up this shadowy area. I brightened the turquoise stone, and darkened the shadow cast onto the far left brick. I also noticed that the black vase wasn’t tall enough. I added 1/2″ to the bottom of it. Finally, I chopped off 4 mm at the top of the composition. It’s just a bit, but I thought it looked more dramatic this way.

I’m pretty happy with this study. I’m trying to decide if it bothers me that the turquoise stone is almost in the center of the composition. It’s hard to know. Though black-and-white studies are very helpful for judging a composition, they aren’t perfect. Sometimes color can profoundly effect how the eye travels over a composition. A brightly-colored object might not draw attention in a black-and-white study, but in the full-color painting, it would. The bright blues of the turquoise, paperweight and bowl will direct the eye in a different way in a full-color representation than in this study. I might have to go back and look at the photos I took of the set-up and judge from them whether I like the position of the turquoise.