Art theory Oil Painting Painting Still Life

Apple Can Brush (huh?)

Apple Can Brush, oil on panel 8x8"
Apple Can Brush, oil on panel, 8x8"

I know the title sounds like random word salad but since the still life objects are equally random I think it is fitting. The tin can in the painting is from a can of Trader Joe’s Split Pea Soup.

I was fidgeting with the can while the soup was warming in a bowl in the office microwave and in the process removed the label. I was struck by how pretty the can was and so to my office mates’ amusement, I washed out the can to take it home and paint it. It needed companions in the composition; an apple was handy as was a paint brush.

Apple Can Brush, drawn on panel with pastel pencil
Apple Can Brush, drawn on panel with pastel pencil

I focused on seeing planes values, and putting the paint down and leaving it. The picture above shows the way I sketched out the composition with the planes on the panel with pastel pencil before painting.

I really enjoyed the process and the results. Can’t ask for more than that!

10 replies on “Apple Can Brush (huh?)”

Thanks for the compliment and the suggestion. I think painting it again is a good idea because I didn’t feel I quite did it justice the first time. I just redid another painting that was 100% improved the second time around.



The way you captured the tin canniness of the inside as well as the outside is what makes us love the can! More can please. The drawing of the planes was an interesting insight to the painting process.


Thank you so much Laura. I love that “tin canniness” — great new word. And thanks for asking for more can. I felt like I hadn’t really done it justice yet and I appreciate the suggestion to do it again. Considering those planes really helps me to understand what I’m seeing and makes painting easier. Jana


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