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Learning to Paint Impressionism: Lilac blooms

A few days ago, I set up a still life in my studio with a lilac sprig that I took from the bush outside. I wanted to paint my impressions of light and color, following the Hawthorne method as best as I could.

Because of the late afternoon sun, there was a lot of golden light coming in. My first layer looked really yellow, so I had to tone it down a bit. Here is the painting:

Still life oil painting of lilac blooms in a jar by Yeshuas Child Art
Sunlight and Lilacs, oil, 11 X 14″ canvas board

I did the painting at 3:30 to 4:30 pm when the light was fairly golden, which is what I depicted. I was pleased that the black table top and jar bottoms both read as black, since this is a hard color for me to paint. The yellow ochre jar top also reads true to color. I decided not to paint the building and fence outside my window, but instead to suggest soft light. Once again, the photo reads a lot darker than the real life still life did, which is why my shadows show more color and aren’t as dark as in the photo.

Here is the photo for comparison:

I went with a fairly limited palette for this one: alizarin, ultramarine, burnt umber, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, sap green and titanium white.

This was not an easy study, but I learned a lot by doing it. I enjoyed it, and plan to continue doing more still life paintings.

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