Sunday, July 1, 2012

painting metal with mettle

Recently a friend gave me this great copper/brass/metal planter. It's kind of tarnished and the metal could be brass or bronze - who knows. All I know is it's a great color with a fascinating and frustrating metallic finish that reflects, glows and holds deep shadows!!! Challenging!

Deep red/purple plums added the perfect compliment and contrast to this rich surface.
Above is the first pass at laying in color.

This stage is more fully developed with stronger modeling of the plums and highlights.

I actually thought it was finished! But then wasn't quite happy with the metal-ness of the pot.

And I've learned that if something's bugging me - it has to be fixed!

You know, I really had no idea what would make this pot look metallic rather than clay-like. Which is why it was almost OK to focus on the parts that were working and be done. Almost.
Going back to surface of the metal feels like something of a milestone. A test of "mettle." Because even though I didn't know how to do it, I kept going because I believed I could. Phew, that is a huge shift for me.

I hope I have succeeded in rendering the character of the metal as well as the juiciness of the plums. Here is the finish painting - the more I looked, the more interesting reflections shadows and subtle color changes were apparent. It was fascinating to find what I hadn't seen before!

FYI - the other difficulty making this painting was NOT eating the plums. They looked so luscious! Happy to say, the painting is definitely done because the props are being eaten! So sweet and juicy. Insides ia a gorgeous deep purple - hope I get to paint a cut plum before they are all eaten.


  1. Dorothy your painting style is amazing, crisp, colorful, and love the contrasts! I am also a painter. Great blog too, very inspiring for me as a painter and fun to read. I will return and participate!
    If you like, you are welcome to my website and blog: and

    Happy painting!


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