Still life with snowman and poinsettia

I am starting the new year with a Christmas-themed acrylic still life. After deciding on the general Christmas theme, I spent a fair amount of time switching plants and objects in and out of the set up: I added, removed, put back pine cones and Christmas balls, moved the snowman around and rooted around my house to find a suitable background drape. Then I took all the pieces of the still life to my teacher’s studio where I will work on the painting once a week for several hours. The photos below are of the still life set up and the square canvas with the drawing and under painting in place. We marked the placement of the easel and took photographs for future reference. I took the poinsettia home so the studio cats wouldn’t be tempted to nibble on the poisonous plant. For anyone interested in how long this process took, I would say roughly an hour at home to get the still life together (if you don’t count inner ruminations about what to paint next), an hour to set up the still life in the studio, including lighting it, an hour on the charcoal sketch, two hours on the initial underpainting, then some more time photographing it and packing up the plant for the car trip. My non-arty friends were surprised that I take this much time to start a painting, but I suspect this preparation time is not at all unusual.

Still life with poinsettia and snowman
Christmas Still Life
Underpainting for Christmas still life of poinsettia
Christmas Still Life : underpainting, acrylic

5 thoughts on “Still life with snowman and poinsettia

  1. I haven’t followed you very long yet, so still getting accustomed to your techniques. ‘Underpainting’ sounds interesting in relation to acrylics. i was under the impression acrylics are largely non transparent?


    • Hi Rita, i take your point. I use the term ‘underpainting’ to refer to the first day of painting. I’m not sure how much shows through after I add in layer after layer of acrylics on top, but the first layer guides me. I put in basic colors, shapes and then values, adding details later. I think acrylics can be translucent if you add enough water to make a glaze. I’m kind of new with this medium. I started one year ago. How do you use acrylics? Thanks for your comment, Anne

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  2. Hi again, your comments have got me thinking. I used to be a reference librarian and probably would have looked in every art encyclopedia and database In the library to find the answer to this. But I think the use of art terms and techniques is too complicated, at least for blog comments. However I did find a good free online art database from Oxford press (Grove and Benezit) which were my favorites for art reference. Here’s the link: I defer to their expertise.

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