Sunflowers are my favorite flowers — I’ve always found them to be so cheerful and have such personality!
Setting up for this painting, I really wanted to focus on just one flower. I decided to push the level of detail on the bloom in the upper right section of the painting. I also cropped in really close to keep the attention on the blossoms.
This small still life painting was inspired by color. I wanted to create a still life that juxtaposed warm against cool colors.
The foundation for the warm versus cool theme is laid with the warm brown in the background contrasted against the blue tabletop. Those blues reflect up into the silver canister and contrast against the warm yellow-greens of that fabulous vase.
Using a warm studio light helps to strengthen the warm colors in the vase and adds some orange reflections to the silver canister. Positioning that studio light so it’s illuminating the set-up from above helps to emphasize the round shape of the objects.
When I was a student at The Atelier working in the main drawing room, I was fascinated with the effect that light from the skylight had on the form of whatever we were drawing.
Nuances were much more pronounced. You could really see the fullness of curves and rounded shapes. An object that looked very flat under other lighting conditions showed that it had a lot more volume when viewed under an overhead light.
The simple pears
When I looked at this pear with the light coming in from the side, it looked round, simple, relatively smooth — it was a pear.
Move the light up over the pear, and now I’m thinking of words like sculptural, statuesque, and shapely. Top lighting brings out the form as no other lighting can. It’s amazing what a change in lighting can do!