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.