Lighting Oil Painting Painting Still Life Studio

Pomegranate Pom-apalooza

Happy New Year! Thanks for hanging out with me this past year! Even though I’ve had a nasty cold all week I managed to get in some pomegranate painting between nose blowing, naps, and chicken soup breaks…

Pomegranate Revealed, oil on board, 9x12"
Pomegranate Revealed, oil on board, 9x12"

Happy New Year! Thanks for hanging out with me this past year! Even though I’ve had a nasty cold all week I managed to get in some pomegranate painting between nose blowing, naps, and chicken soup breaks, but not nearly as much as I’d hoped to do over my year-end vacation.

Pomegranate value study in oils
Pomegranate value study in oils, 8x5"

I only had enough energy to be in the studio for a couple of hours a day but fortunately the pom waited nicely for me. I started by doing a value study in oils (above), trying to sort out where the darkest darks and lightest lights are and just how dark and light they are.

Pomegranate quick study, oil on board, 5x7"
Pomegranate quick study, oil on board, 5x7"

I did a small study next since I knew I didn’t have more than an hour or so of painting energy. I had fun with this and feel like I’m starting to find a way to get loose and sketchy with oils.

Pom photo under Reveal bulb
Pom under Reveal bulb

I used a GE Reveal light bulb in my lamp which gave everything a pinkish-lavender cast and that’s why I named the painting “Pomegranate Revealed.” GE says they are “specially made to filter out the dull yellow rays produced by standard incandescent bulbs.” I’d bought it originally thinking it would simulate daylight but it doesn’t at all. I usually use a fluorescent 5000K bulb 40 watt bulb (equal to 150 watts) which does a better job of producing clean light.

Pomegranate Revealed - Cropped to 8x10"
Cropped in Photoshop to 8x10"

When I compared the final painting and the studies I realized I liked the original composition with less background better so I experimented with cropping the painting in Photoshop. It’s not hard to cut the board down if I decide to crop it for real.

What do you think? Do you like this cropped version or the “final” version at the top of the post better?

8 replies on “Pomegranate Pom-apalooza”

Happy New Year. may 2011 bring you peace & happiness.

Thank you for sharing the different steps you took, the tonal/value work is something I should do more of. I preferred the cropped version as I find the plate a little distracting in the top one, but not much.


I like the top one-just a little more plate for me, please:)

I love those GE Reveal bulbs, incidentally. They are great to read and sew by and I like them also at my painting table. I haven’t used them for a still life setup though with “accurate” lighting. I know it isn’t pc but flourescent bulbs make me nuts!


I like the cropped version just a little bit more, although I didn’t really notice until I looked at them one against the other. I think it’s the arc of the bowl at the bottom of the first one that draws my eye away from the fruit. Very delicious painting!


Very nice! I like the cropped version. Reading the post, I noticed that you did the (awesome) studies with that composition, and it was working very well. I don’t think the dark lower left corner in the uncropped version adds anything. To my eye, the cropped version puts the focus more on the “unfolding drama” of the pomegranate. That color 5 X 7″ study is rockin’.


Hi Jana:
Hope you feel better soon. Those colds can linger and wear us down, so hope your’s doesn’t, and that you get back to your perky self soon. Happy New Year to you. I have to agree with the others here, I like the cropped version better. You did a great job on the plate, those ellipses are so tricky. Hang in there with your oils!


Jana, hope you have a great year ahead. I like your posts very much. And, hope you are feeling better soon. Best wishes

The cropped version is my preference. Too much plate and background, takes away from the impact of the pom.


Happy New Year and wow! The grey study is a really neat idea for getting acquainted. These pomegranates look very solid — and free at the same time. Hope you get your energy back quickly and in the mean time, isn’t it great to know you can paint like this even with a cold!


Happy New Years Janas! I hope your feeling better…chicken soup does wonders. I personally like the original better but either is very nice. Thank you for going through the process. This is a lovely little painting – really well done.


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