Oil Painting – Cast Shadows, Stems and Edges

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 40,444
    Artist Martha Spak demonstrates how to oil paint and how to cast shadows, stems and edges when painting still life.

    Martha Spak: Hi, I am Martha Spak with MLSGallery and I am showing you how to paint a still life oil painting. Right now I am going to talk about cast shadow and edges. I am going to pull a little bit of our Payne's gray, our white, a little of my gray and misty blue and mix it around of it with my turpenoid, on my palette and then go ahead and place the cast shadow underneath the fruit, that way it will be floating. Make sure to check back your setup to make sure you are getting the cast shadow in the right place. The cast shadow is actually reflection in the shadows on the surface of the set-up. In this case it's on our blue drape. So the next thing we need to do is go ahead and continue this technique all over the canvas just to fill in all the white space. So now I am just finishing up painting the background of our still life setup and I am going to show you the technique I use to create our stems. I use this tool called a wipe-out tool, it looks like a paintbrush, but at one end it's a rubber piece that pulls paint off from the canvas and when you pull it off, it reveals the white canvas underneath, I will show you how. I take my tool, starting from the top of the pear on a wet canvas and pull up and then at the very top just angle it and just slightly and that gives you one stem. Let's try the next. I think the stems are the most interesting part of the fruit, pulling up and this one tends to go back a little bit and is a bit thicker. So we can add a little highlight and reflection on the stem as well. I am going to take a very small brush, that I have in my jar and add a highlight to it. I will pull a little yellow ocher and a little lemon yellow and a little gray, then work toward the base of the pear. Remember it's not a solid thing, it changes color with the light shining on it. We also need to add some highlight and some reflection. The reflection comes on the right side of the pear and where the light is reflected off the other pear, one that sits next to it, so right now I am using a little turpenoid, gray, black, and more black. Remember my background is wet, so you can manipulate the colors if you choose to smooth out some of the edges, now it's a good time. Take a wide flat brush and make it dry, keep it dry and just clean up your edges. Let's go ahead and add some highlights. So I am taking cadmium yellow light, a little white and for the highlights, I can see that they are hitting on the first third of the middle, our middle pear and I am going to load up my brush and place the highlight directly where I see it, so that's where I want the viewer's eye to go. Again, I just loaded it up and placed it there and I will smooth that out with my large, flat dry brush and that's how you add in the highlights and the reflections on our still life setup. Let's move on to the finished oil paint product.