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A Painting a Week in 2022

Two of my goals in my 2021 Year in Review blog post were to create more paintings than I had in prior years and to create more complex, visually interesting paintings. To achieve my goal, I'll be completing a small (5"x7") painting each week in between sessions on the pineapple. By writing it here, I hold myself accountable, publicly. As these weekly paintings become available, they will be for sale in my online shop.


Reference Photo for Cinnamon Tea Painting

Here is my starting point! Above is my reference photo, taken in Warwick, NY. I always spend a few minutes examining the color and light in a reference photo. For this image I selected flake white replacement, cadmium yellow light, cadmium red light, raw sienna, burnt sienna, & ultramarine blue. (Primary colors + 2 browns.)


**I rarely use black out of the tube. It is far more interesting to mix my own. For what reads as black here, I mixed ultramarine blue with burnt sienna.


Beginning Stage

Ah, the ugly stage of painting, and the most important stage to push through. The above image is the first one I remembered to take, though ideally, I should have shown the sketch I did in pencil underneath with the beginning paint strokes.


To get this painting started, I began with a large brush and blocked in overall colors, ignoring details for this stage. It is so much more important to achieve correct value over color. This stage is about determining how dark the darkest darks should be, and how light the lightest lights should be. Once that's done, the rest is essentially small adjustments.


Midway Stage

In this image, the elements are starting to come together, but it's still at a very rough stage. I struggled with determining how much detail to add in the wood grain of the table. However, the glass reads as translucent!


Final Stage

I added small orange details throughout the scene to create unity, and turned up the chroma on the cinnamon sticks for a bright pop. My goal for this piece was to paint more loosely than I have in the past, as this is meant to be a sketch. I think that was achieved.


Tea still life oil painting
Finished Piece

Here is the final result! Looking back at my reference photo, I may go back and tweak the top rim of the glass. However, overall I am very happy with how this turned out. This was painted in one 6 hour session. Cinnamon Tea will be available in my shop when it's dry :)

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Colleen Gabel
Colleen Gabel
Jan 22, 2022

As a non-artist, I enjoyed this blog post because you showed the various stages of painting- starting with a reference photo and moving to the end result. This post helped me to understand some of the fundamental elements that you have to take into account when planning a piece. The completed painting is visually appealing: especially in terms of balance of color. Thank you for sharing your process!

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Holly Bianchi
Holly Bianchi
Jan 22, 2022
Replying to

Thank you for the feedback, Colleen! I'm so glad you found this helpful. Most of what people see is the end result painting and I think it's important to show what's going through my head when planning and painting a piece.

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