I often paint my subjects several times in various media. Doing so gives me the ability to really get familiar with the subtleties and nuances they contain without feeling like I have one shot at getting it “perfect”. After all, much of the work I do is not for the purpose of exhibition or sale, but for teaching and demonstration, so I sometimes use subjects that I am considering for exhibition paintings as models.
I set this still life up today for my pastels class, and was immediately mesmerized by the contrast of the monochromatic objects and the single red pear. In the demo, I talked about how this one is a little different from my usual bold use of color and more abrupt value transitions. I also talked about the similarities–beginning with a solid composition, accurate drawing and break down of value relationships. I try to emphasize to my students the important of practicing the art of drawing whenever possible. If you can draw, you are in control of how closely you wish to stay true to your subject, or how far away you choose to get from reality. Below is the finished demo, I am now working on a small study of the still life in oil based on the pastel study (I did not have time to complete the entire oil study in the studio today, so I will use the pastel as a reference). If I am happy with the oil, I may do a small series of these monochrome plus a single color arrangements, I find the concept very compelling.