Red Onion & Wrench

Oil on panel, 8×6″ (larger)

My favorite part of this quick oil sketch are the little flag or wing-like thingees on the top of the onion. I had a variety of problems with this painting, some of which I solved and some I didn’t.

I still haven’t gotten still life lighting worked out. I was about to build a set up like I saw on Carole Marine’s blog here and here, but discovered that while the pvc pipe she used is very inexpensive, the fittings are not. It was going to cost around $50 for the fittings and pipe so I decided to go back to using my 3-sided cardboard box still life “stage.” But my overhead full-spectrum fluorescent lights are right next to the table beside my easel, so it’s hard to block out the overhead light to prevent light sources coming from different directions.

I’ve also been experimenting with different kinds of light bulbs to direct at the still life, from color balanced fluorescents and incandescents to halogen. I even bought some sheets of colored photographic “gels” to use as filters on the lights to create a warm or cool light. So far nothing has worked as well as painting outdoors;  Mother Nature is the best.But in my neighborhood near the San Francisco Bay where it’s often foggy and windy and the light changes constantly, outdoor still life painting can be frustrating.

If you have any tips on lighting still lifes, I’d be most grateful to hear about them!

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Category:
Oil Painting, Other Art Blogs I Read, Painting, Still Life, Studio

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. No tips, I’m afraid — I’ve read about the cardboard box thingy too and that seems to do it … but even that is large for my small working area … despite the problems you may have had, I do LOVE this, Jana — especially that onion and the white thingies …!!!! The color is deep, rich and superb, and the lighting on the wrench is perfect!! Your oils are masterful, my friend ….!

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  2. Your handling of the colour and reflectiveness of the wrench is right on.

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  3. Cardboard box trick is the only one that I know, sorry. Love this still life though, nice color and textures. Love the combination of these two items in a painting. Whatcha tryin’ to say, is it about things we (women) do or things that make us cry (LOL)? The wrench is great!

    Tami, that’s so funny. I wasn’t really trying to say anything but I love your intrepation!
    ~Jana

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  4. If you hadn’t said wrench I would have thought it was an obscure French cooking tool.

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  5. I love your onion Jana. These red onions with their flaky skins give me huge kick too! and the colour on that wrench is perfect…I couldn’t give you any great tips, beacuse I have no fancy tools. I have a daylight lamp attached to my easel and I switch off overhead lighting and work with two reading lamps(with moveable arms)that I position to cast the desired light I want. This works for me – it gives enough light in my immediate area for my paints and easel and on my subject.
    ronell

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  6. I love this red onion painting. It’s a great composition, great colors and has a really nice feel to it! It’s really beautiful. It might be my favorite painting of yours.

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  7. I love this little still life!

    Scrolling through all you art (and there’s a lot!) this one stops me in my tracks!

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