Doug Condon

art blog and portfolio

A painting in progress

So I have been working on a new painting for a show I wish to enter.  The theme is “Feast” so I thought I would go traditional and use my new excitement for oils to work on a still life.  This may or may not be a huge mistake.  If I was smart I would stick to acrylic and a process I am more confidant in to get a successful painting.  Clearly I am not smart, but I have been really enjoying the painting in oil and I am pleased with how it is going.

I also decided to document my progress for this painting.  I always like seeing when artists post works in progress and how you can see the development of details in a painting.  Please excuse the quality of the photos, I haven’t been using the best of lighting for photography, but you should still get the idea of how it is going.

Stage 1.

I have started to use toned panels and boards for all my works to allow myself to paint both the highlights and shadows in the initial rough in.  Previously I used white surfaces which I found increasingly limiting as I put many dark layers down and often only used a few washed for the light areas.  Now I feel both the light and dark get worked on more evenly.

So at this point I have completed the drawing and am ready to paint.  Steps before this would be setting up my still life and taking some photos.  Playing around with composition.  Deciding on the overall goal of the work.  All the prep stuff really.  The actual drawing went by pretty quickly the only point of difficulty was the wine glass, it took a few tries to get it more or less symmetrical.

Stage 2.

So I have began to establish in the main light source, the highlights and the shadows.  I have also started to put in a few hints of color here or there.  Once again the wine glass was a bit of a pain, it looks like the application of paint has screwed up the drawing that wasn’t the strongest anyway.  I think this represents about and hour and a half of painting time.

Stage 3.

After  two more hours of painting this is the result.  I first worked to darken the frame around the window for contrast.  Then I worked to push the shadow and depth of color on the fruit and the wine glass.  The light and color of the table then was painted on.  It was good to have the shadows of the fruit and the table highlights both wet and workable so I could play with them a bit.  Lastly I made sure to work on the glass of the bowl to keep the highlights alive and preserve the feeling of transparency.  When I sat back to photo the painting I was pretty happy about how it was going so far.

Stage 4.

Working today was a bit frustrating.  In my reference the window behind the fruit has a lacy, almost transparent, curtain.  I wasn’t planning on adding it to my painting, I was planning on leaving the shape of the window as a larger area to make the fruit in front pop.  When I asked my wife for her opinion about how it looked so far she burst my bubble about the window.  She wasn’t sure what it was exactly, it looked flat and dead to her and she asked when I was going to put the curtain in.  I internally freaked out since I wasn’t sure if I could pull off the feel of a lacy curtain, especially if I was pretty happy about the painting of the fruit up front and feeling pressure not to mess up.  What you see above is the result.  I think it went pretty well.

After patting myself on the back about the curtains and proudly showing my wife the result I then used my confidence to tackle the apples in the bowl.  It was some enjoyable painting and I think they all look pretty good.  I have to wait to add in the highlights for the front rim of the bowl until next time.

That was where I left off but I am planning on getting in a few hours of work of the painting tonight.  I should mention that I left at least a day or two between painting sessions.  I wanted to give some spots a chance to dry at least a bit and it allowed me to work on other projects on the in between days.


  1. maeve said ‘apple!!!!’

  2. If Maeve said apple I must be doing something right!!!

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