Saturday, December 17, 2011

1940's Christmas - Shiny Brite Demo Part 1

Picture of my still-life setup
Since I'm totally in the Christmas spirit and hopelessly attracted to shiny things I took a shot at painting this still life.  These "Shiny Brite" brand ornaments were made in the U.S.A. back in the 1940's.  

For the still-life, I arranged Christmas lights around the box of ornaments to create this wonderful warm and cool glowing light. 

To get a feel for the composition and color, I taped up a 8x11" sheet of canvas and painted these quick sketches.  I did them quickly and experimented with color and paint application.  The wording on the box required some trial and error to find a way to paint it so as to look flat, like printing on a box rather than hand painted lettering.  I also realized that the reflections and multiple colors of light on the ball required careful study.

10-30 minute color sketches
Simple underpainting with initial values laid in.
Once I found the layout I liked, I drew it out onto this 5x5" stretched canvas.  Hopefully the viridian underpainting will help me create that flat effect I want on the green lettering.  The underpainting also helps establish the cool shadows and when the thicker, warm yellows and reds are painted on top they will really radiate.  Using thin, transparent grey (Ultramarine Blue + Burnt Sienna) I laid in the value structure.

In the three pics above you can see how I used white to bring out the highlighted areas then scrubbed in pure paint (without medium) for the lettering.  Then I painted the cool blues and greens in the right side of the box and shadow from the ornament.  Lastly, the warm yellow to orange tone was worked into the front of the box and painted around the lettering.

I'll keep painting and show my progress over the next couple of posts.  Gee, I hope I don't mess up the painting...that would be embarrassing now that I posted the beginning.  So, if there are no further posts that might indicate that I ran into a problem ;-)



  1. This looks very seasonal, very nice, with a warm feeling.

  2. Gorgeous set up. I love the antique box! I look forward to seeing it. So far, your studies are wonderful.
    Happy Painting,

  3. Love this...good to see I'm not the only one who can't resist a shiny thing!! :)


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