Pot of Onions, oil alla prima on canvas

Pot of Onions, oil alla prima on canvas, 9×12 in.

This is another in my series of small still life paintings. I started this one as a demo in one of my oils classes and ended up really getting into it. I love the colors in the onion skins and the copper pot. I chose the rusty red-orange, blue and gold cloths to create a strong primary color harmony with an earth-toned flavor. The props are just things from the Center for Contemporary Art’s closet. It’s fun to see what a little imagination can do with some everyday objects. A still life set up allows you to have the most control over your subject versus any other subject you choose to paint. You control the lighting, the colors, the shapes and the mood of your departure point. Painting from life forces you to see so many colors, you have to really concentrate and that improves your observation skills so much. Am I repeating myself? Probably. There are certain concepts that go a long way in improving any artist’s skills, painting still lifes from life is an exercise that will serve you well no matter what your level of experience or preferred medium or subject.

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