A Simple Still Life with Limited Palette

A still life painting by Simon Bland

45. 8x10, oil on linen panel. 2017

This is a direct painting, done without any kind of block-in. Painted as an exercise, my original goal was to create it with a few distinct strokes of a painting knife.

To start I mapped out the different facets of the subject on a separate piece of paper. I broke it down into regions of similar color and value, giving each one a number (there were 45 of them in the end).

I didn't allow myself to smush the paint around, except in the background. This forced me to get the color and value of each part right first time.

As the work progressed I had to keep refining the initial model. Although I got most of the colors mixed right on the palette, I needed to make corrections in a couple of areas. In particular, I had to make the lightest values lighter.

The palette was ultramarine, alizarin, bright red, cad yellow medium and raw umber.


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