Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines 12” x 16” Oil on Panel

Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines Set Up Image

The Set Up!  

The arrangement is a beautiful French Limoges Porcelain Jar, this will be the main event! I paired it with some gorgeous nectarines, grapes and artificial leaves. I decided to go with a blue green background as I thought it would be a nice complement to the reds and pinks in the jar and fruit, but also harmonious to the greens and blues in the foreground as well. I really liked the thought of these dancing spring greens leading you up to the main event.

Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines The Start Image

The Start  

I toned with burnt umberr working on a beautiful non-absorbent Ampersand Gessoboard.  

I mass in the most important thing first, the porcelain jar. I separate the light shapes from the  shadow shapes on the jar.  

I move to the smaller objects like the nectarines, they’re perhaps next important in line. I make  sure I don’t make them too big in comparison to the jar. I put in suggestions of placement for the  grapes and leaves, but I leave it fairly open ended – possible to change around – not being too  committed right away.  

I put in some more umber darker for the background shadow and table edge. I should have 3  values present now in this monochrome start.

Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines Background Image


I put in some shadow and light background color.  

Shadow: Raw Umber, Ivory Black, Prussian Blue.  

Light side: Raw Umber, Ivory Black, Prussian Blue Naples Yellow and White  

I’m careful not to “finish out” my background and in fact I don’t really touch again until the very  end. I need enough of it in to correctly judge other values and especially around my main  objects.  

To start the light on the vase I use Cremnitz White + Prussian Blue + Cadmium Yellow Deep.  

Boy does this look ugly right now – ha ha. A big issue I see for artists is trying to make it look  good and perfect too soon.

Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines Building Color Image

Building Color.  

Next I begin to build some pure color on the nectarines. One is more yellow and one is more red. I mostly use Naples Yellow on the left one and Cadmium Red on the right one.  

I then put some Ivory Black + Alizarin Crimson in for the grapes leaving them unresolved and rough still. I  won’t know how much detail to do on these until the rest is put in. The grapes act as a light stopper in the  painting and holding the eye in, so if I were to put a bunch of color and detail they would attract too much  attention.  

As you can see, I model a few more details on the jar. I place some highlights in the right places, try my best  to indicate the fluted edges in the porcelain (this is a toughie). I studied the jar closely to see which parts of  the jar where getting lighter. One those parts I put more warm yellow white and on the parts that dipped  away from the light source I used my background color to cool off and gray down. The value and edge  transitions at this stage are certainly rough, but they will smooth out with more working.

Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines Modeling Nectarines and Leaf Color Image

Modeling Nectarines and Leaf Color  

I start to build light with a top central highlight on the yellow nectarine. I start adding in some cadmium red light on this one too as it rolls over to the darker nectarine.  

I want to see now what this beautiful yellow green (cadmium lemon + Prussian) is going to bring to the party.  It really starts livening things up! I focus on the ones closer to the nectarines, making them the brightest and crispest edges. The others I try to tone down a bit (less yellow), keeping the edges softer for now with the main goal being leading up to the jar.  

I decided in this stage to make the shadow side of the vase lighter in value than the background and warmer  with some ochre to give it some glow. I also start putting in table top color, mostly a lighter background color  with some warm variations. I place some warm and cool reflections into shadows where I see them.

Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines Final Stage Pattern Image

Fine Stage: Pattern  

God bless that pattern on the jar because without it this would have been a pretty boring painting.  

Using a smaller brush (2) I begin adding in some pinks, reds, purples and greens. I concentrate on the front  center being more in detail and more colorful. I make sure to lighten the pattern and blur it a bit around the  highlight. On the shadow side I put in the dark accents of the pattern. It’s important to observe the pattern  of the light moving across the jar in this stage, not just the pattern of the jar.  

I smooth out my background a bit, polishing it up, which makes it recede in relationship to the objects.  

I work more on the leaves getting them to follow through all the way to the grapes. Light reversals are so  important on these, so I choose which ones I want to be more lit up and harder edged carefully. I see them as  abstract shapes more than leaves and I change their value lighter or darker as is needed for the painting.  

At some point I had more detail on these grapes, but I went back to just a simple mass with highlights. It just worked better being simple and suggested. There are times when you must restrain yourself from putting in more details if it better serves the beauty of the picture, even if you “know” how to do something really well.

Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines Final Results Image

Final Results  

This was an alla prima, one day, painting. I was satisfied with the results, so I did not go back to it again. It went on to a show and found a new home gratefully. Remember a painting doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, it just must have a beautiful story with intent.

P.S. Paint with me for five days, February 8th – 12th, during my 5 Day Still Life Painting Workshop Online! Click here for information:

Love in Light, Kelli

2 thoughts on “Painting Limoges Jar and Nectarines 12” x 16” Oil on Panel

  1. Thank you so much for this,Kelli. It was so clearly explained! I would love to study with you but not financially feasible for me. I try to learn what I can from your generous sharing. Maybe one day I can be in one of your classes.

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