View Full Version : Steel and chili, unfinished

Merethe T
07-24-2007, 07:21 PM
Hi all!

I'm working on a new still life, this time the main subject is steel. I'm working my way down from the left corner, finishing one section before I move on. i like this approach, keeps me motivated to see something finished,lol!

I'm painting from my own ref photo, have changed the background and some colors in the steel cans. I'm working on building up my portfolio, planning to enter some shows and contests in the near future. Any thoughts and feedback wanted, let me know what you think!

This is on La Carte, 15x18"


07-24-2007, 07:31 PM

Stellar so far! I can hardly wait to see the chillis completed. From the RH jar reflection it looks like the base will be wood slats?

Very Nice.

07-24-2007, 08:05 PM
fabulous !! ... excellent representation of metal containers !! ... i too can hardly wait to see those peppers emerge ...

Charles Perera
07-24-2007, 08:07 PM
You are a born artist.


07-24-2007, 08:09 PM
Cravia. I'm doing the same thing you are...trying to build stock and enter shows. This is phenomenal. The metal is incredible. Can't wait to see the finished piece!


07-24-2007, 08:18 PM
OH... that steels is incredible.... Good job! Donna R.

07-24-2007, 10:02 PM
only thought i have is.....dang, wish i did that!! awesome work! watching with interest, i got the popcorn!

07-24-2007, 10:43 PM
Shades of Dianna Ponting. You are nailing the look of metal and great reflections with spot on values. The red of the chillis will be a teriffic counterpoint. This should be an excellent show piece. Are you working from life or a photo?

Karen Margulis
07-25-2007, 07:30 AM
Wow!! This is going to be fantastic!!!!


07-25-2007, 07:32 AM
Stunning. Can't wait to see the final painting. And the metals are truly gorgeous.

07-25-2007, 08:01 AM
WOW Cravia this is just stunning. The reflections and light on the steel is just amazing, you have captured it all perfectly. It's awesome!!!!

07-25-2007, 10:38 AM
I see that you have already painted the reflections of the chillies on the left can...cannot wait to see the completed painting.

Piper Ballou
07-25-2007, 11:09 AM
Wow oh Wow oh WOW....this is fanastic...you have really found your niche with still lifes....

07-25-2007, 11:55 AM
Your work is always so amazing! The cannisters are fabulous. I would have loved to see an earlier post to get an idea of how you did the metal. I'm always trying to learn from all you pros! Can't wait to see how this progresses.

Paula Ford
07-25-2007, 12:40 PM
WOW, this is fantastic so far. I can just feel the cold of the metal.


07-25-2007, 01:34 PM
This is going to be wonderful Merethe, can just imagine the colours reflected in the metal........
you know, I think I will have to give La Carte another go, you endorse it so well - I have some left over from Diana's Workshop

Could you talk of the process of setting up and lighting and taking of the pictures - I would love to be able to work more from my own images, but my photos are never good enough........ its more getting that wonderful lighting
........ anything you care to share, would be appreciated.
I have a digital camera, quite good, but nothing flashy...... do you think you need a 'good' camera
Thank you Dawn

07-25-2007, 02:12 PM
Oh fabulous work. I can't wait to see what the chiles do to this piece. I'm sure they are just going to pop!!!

Your painting of metal is astonishing.

Cheers! Barb

Merethe T
07-25-2007, 03:20 PM
Wow, thank you all so much....I'm quite speachless by all those nice comments.... (I can assure you, it's not often I'm out of words, lol! :D)
I'll try to answer your questions too, lets see...

mrking - yes, the base is dark wood, I'm keeping the background and base low key, to make the steel and chili's pop...

Ronda - that's great, we'll just cheer eachother forward... ;)

TJ - I work from a photo, but keep checking out the canisters and wood table in RL too.

Diana - unfortunately I don't have any pics from the early stages, usually I do take pics along the way but this time I got carried away,lol. I have some close ups, I'll post them for you - maybe it'll give you an idea of the colors.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jul-2007/22081-Close_up_1.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jul-2007/22081-Close_up_2_x450.jpg http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Jul-2007/22081-Close_up_3_x450.jpg

As you can see from the photos I use both warm and cold greys, a lot of blues and a little purple to get the metal effect. I save pure white for high lights. There's probably 3 - 4 layers on the cans. I keep a close watch on values, as long as the values are right it'll come together. Also, I focus on shapes when I paint, first large shapes, then smaller when I have the basic pattern down. I finish one section before I move on, but do lay down the basic values all over the can in the first layer. If you look at pic nr 3, you'll get an idea of how it looks in the first layer, the right side isn't done yet. I blend with my fingers, I find I get the smoothest transitions from one color to another that way. For small details I use pastel pencils. For the lightest areas I keep the paper clean, to get as bright color as possible. As for black - i save it for the darkest ares, most of the time I'll layer dark blue in the black, makes the area more "alive".

Hope this made any sence, lol! I think what's made the most difference in my work is getting the values right, and thinking of the subject as shapes - the colors come together so much easier now. Also, learning to choose what details to keep, and what not has made a difference. A year ago I'd try to paint every little detail I saw...I've realised that's not the way to go. Focus on major shapes, and decide what details will "tell the story", after all it is a painting, not a photo. Well, this has helped me - most of it I've learned from the wonderful artists in this forum...



Merethe T
07-25-2007, 04:47 PM
Dawn - I was going to answer you too, but there were served warm waffles with strawberries so I was a bit distracted... ;) Got the most wonderful man, sure is a keeper... :heart:

Anyway, the prosess of getting the ref photos...I'm not a pro photographer, let me start with that! I have invested in a good camera, however, I decided the money was well spent, as I work from photos and prefer to work from my own pics. I have a Canon 350D, I love it. I had a cheaper dig cam before, and was always dissapointed by the quality. For me the investment has been good, as the functions in the camera gives me great refs to work from. I haven't had time to really learn how to take good pics, I've only used the auto functions in the cam, and it gives me good photos. I never use the flash for ref pics, and I don't use a tripod.

I don't have good artificial lighting, so all my pics are shot in sunlight. When I get an idea of a set up I draw a sketch and take notes in my sketchbook, and wait for the right light conditions. I use my kitchen- or living room table for the set up, sometimes I'll use a mirror or glass, sometimes cloth (usually t-shirts,lol) under the objects. I like to take photos around 3 - 5 PM, I like the light conditions, it's a soft light that gives long shadows. I like good contrasts, so I'll wait till the sun is right and fire away with the cam. Usually I'll take 100 to 200 pics, from different angles. Sometimes I'll have a set up ready, sometimes I'll just play around with different things, and usually I'll get ideas by the light and shadows. I'm like most people in here I guess, when I see some nice cherries/apples in the store I'll be thinking of a new still life, not grocery shopping, lol!

As you know, I live in Norway, and we don't have any sunlight from November to January - so I try to get as many refs as possible during spring and summer! I'm hoping to get better light-conditions indoors in time, so I don't have to wait for sunny days to get photos...

I like the prosess, it's fun taking the photos, to play around with objects, shapes and lighting. Usually I'll change the colors in the painting, I'm really not aiming for a photorealistic look, I'm more concerned of how the colors work together. I don't plan the background when I take photos, so I need to make up a BG for the painting sometimes. And - I love La Carte! I've tried Colorfix, Wallis, Canson - non of them gives the look I want, for my style La Carte is just perfect. For some reason I feel I have more control of small details and fine lines with it, and I like the smooth finish for blended areas - but I find Wallis and Colorfix better for layering different colors and blend with the sticks...guess it is a matter of taste and personal style...

Hope this helps! :)


Woops - now that I see the close ups posted I spotted an area I need to rework, looks like one of the can's got a zip...funny how the pics gives a different view of the work...;)

07-25-2007, 04:52 PM

Mary Brigid
07-25-2007, 05:57 PM
Meredith. Thank you for the close ups and all your explanation as to how you set up for a still life..... This took time and I appriciate that very much. I enjoyed reading it and I am so looking forward to your next post.
Mary Brigid

07-25-2007, 07:04 PM
Thank you so much for the extra photos and explaining your process on the metal cannisters! It is a treasure when talented artists are generous with their time and explain their techniques to others. Your painting is already fantastic!

07-25-2007, 11:39 PM
Absolutly beautiful work Merethe! I can't wait to se this finished!

07-26-2007, 12:57 AM
Oh yummy, i love anything that reflects light and colour so this really does it for me..great work, cant wait to see the finished result..well done.

07-26-2007, 12:17 PM
Thank you Merethe, that was a wonderful explanation and really very helpful - thank you...... now there is an automatic still life for you (if its around long enough....... warm waffles and strawberries, sounds absolutely delightful - Ha!) - you are on to a goodun there ;)
Actually you have hit a cord with me - as I love working from photos, so I should really invest in a good camera, though perhaps I just need to experiment a bit more with mine in the lighting etc.... some good tips and tricks there Merethe - thank you very much for sharing - really appreciate it.
Like you, we do not tend to get much sunshine...... and lol, if you have been seeing any news coverage of England lol - I should become an Underwater photographer
I was talking to Mikki a year or so ago about cameras, and am sure that is a similiar one if not the same she uses as yours - so Im going off to see what I can find out
Thanks again

Gail V
07-26-2007, 11:17 PM
I LOVE your work!!! Keep more coming to inspire us!! :)

07-27-2007, 11:22 AM
Merethe - I'm sitting here cheering for you! I have no doubt you will do well. I agree with you on the good camera. My uncle got me a really nice one for my birthday last year and it's been most helpful in taking reference photos. It goes everywhere with me. I do appreciate your explanation of how you take your ref photos. Boy do you have the patience of a saint to wait for the right lighting. But is certainly paid off.

Shades - get yourself a good camera. You won't be sorry.

Now I'm off to find something to eat. Just reading the words waffles and strawberries has made me hungry.....oh yeah, it is lunch time as well.


Merethe T
07-29-2007, 02:49 PM
Mary, Diana, Dawn - your welcome, I'm happy to share whatever I can, and glad if someone find it helpfull! A good camrea is a good investment, I'm pretty sure you won't regret it, Dawn...

Thank you to everyone who take time to watch and comment, it motivates and inspirates me!

I'm getting closer to done now, chilis' finished, steels' finished - wood is not...I'm gonna do a bit more detailed wood surface, but I need to put the painting aside for a bit, there'll probably some adjusting needed. I don't see it now though, been staring at it for too long,lol!

Here's an update, c&c very much appreciated, hit me with whatever you think! :D


Ok, the blues are not that strong in real life, they're worked into the greys and looks more like steel...always have trouble with blues when I take pics of my work....so much for praising my camera, huh! :lol:

Well, I'm off to a new painting, I've got a ton of ideas, can't paint fast enough,lol!

07-29-2007, 02:54 PM
bravo !! ... :clap::clap::clap: ... even this far it looks fabulous ... and no doubt, when you return to it with fresh eyes and inspiration you'll even take it to a further fabulous result ... i look forward to seeing it then too ... :thumbsup:

Piper Ballou
07-29-2007, 03:09 PM
Merethe, the blues you are worried about play very well....great painting...

Pat Isaac
07-29-2007, 04:21 PM
You are a master at reflection Merethe. I like your recent series of limited color, black, grays and red. I wonder if there might be some reflection of the chilis on the tabletop. Stunning painting.


07-29-2007, 04:25 PM
Merethe, this is STUNNING!!!, I haven't posted in ages, but seeing your work has fired me into a comment! I love seeing your WIPs, and look forward to seeing this finished. What colour is the bg? It looks black on the screen, but maybe is more subtle?



07-29-2007, 04:30 PM
This will be a fantastic painting Merethe. The jars are just perfect.

bruce johnson
07-29-2007, 08:34 PM
The reflections on the tin are so bright I almost have to squint to look at them.. outstanding

07-29-2007, 11:56 PM
Stunning painting. Love the shiny metal and the reflections.

07-30-2007, 03:01 PM
wow merethe! this is really comming along very beautifully!

07-30-2007, 07:22 PM
Merethe, how beautiful the metal is here. It's so interesting to see all those colors in them. I like the energy in how that top one is perched just a bit off, to make it feel vibrant with the possibility of it toppling if someone walked too heavily in the room.

07-31-2007, 12:52 PM
Merethe, this is beautifully painted! Your skill with smooth surfaces and reflections is just amazing. The table top seems a little rough by comparison--some of the colors in the wood grain around the lower left-hand can, as it merges in to the shadowed area behind, make the wood appear to puff up. The tabletop itself could perhaps be cooler, which would make your gorgeous chilies really pop. But that's a small nit on a truly excellent painting. Well done!

07-31-2007, 07:00 PM
Outstanding! It truly stands beautifully on its own - the only thing you may consider if you don't cool down the tabletop - is to warm up the chilis a bit. hmm... seems odd to type that. Barb……:)

Merethe T
07-31-2007, 08:07 PM
Thank you all, reading your comments really made my day! Painting and visiting WC is wonderful recreation from hard days at work... :)

Diane- the background is black with a dark purple, the first layer was all black but I found it to flat, so I added purple...nice to know I got you posting again, btw, hope you'll keep it up... ;)

Pat - might be, yes - I'm gonna add more detail in that area..

Kim and Barb - good points! The wood isn't finished yet, I'm gonna work more on it, just needed to put it away for a bit before I finish the painting...I'll probably cool down and lighten the wood a bit, and see how it works out..

And again - thank you all, I value your opinions higly - there's so much talent and knowledge in this forum, getting such responses from you really means a lot... :)