Continuing my recent immersion in painting still lifes, I have completed one in which the realism meets my expectations. It’s called, “Floral in an Egyptian Urn”. From inception, through detailed drawing, to final painting, this project took me approximately 60 hours. The drawing for this painting is my most detailed to date. At first, I wasn’t going to draw in each line of the two-tone fabric. However, I finally listened to that little voice in my head that tells me how a detailed drawing will lead to a better final painting. When it came to actually painting, I was very happy that I took the time to draw in all the detail.
The secret to making the gold urn really look like a metal surface were the reflections. I reflected the green of the leaves, the peach and magentas of the flowers, and the reds and blues of the ornamentation, especially in the top of the urn. I had turned three lights toward the setup from which I was painting. I painted all of the reflected light that I saw on the urn, including the fine lines of light falling on the raised ornamentation. Although these small additions of light were very simplistic in application, they made a big difference in changing a potentially flat, painted-on style of decoration into raised, 3-D ornaments on the urn.
I changed the original colors of the setup. As the next photo shows, the drapery was a coral color, and some of the central urn inlay colors were blue. I changed this so that the drapery was a two-tone blue, and the inlays were red. I wanted a cool color in the background to make the background recede, and I wanted a warm, bright color bringing the urn forward. Another tactic I used to make the drapery recede was to apply a couple of coats of blue glaze over the drapery, which toned down the highlights and midtones of the drapery. Highlights closer to white were only used on the urn and flowers.