'My addiction to painting started after reading Carol Marine’s excellent book ‘Daily Painting’,' says Angie Wood.
'I had been painting for many years, mainly pet portraits from photographs, but I knew that my painting technique left a lot to be desired, and I wanted to improve it. After reading this book I realised that the best way to learn is to keep painting from life, over and over again.
'There’s so much to learn but since I’ve taken advice from Carol’s book I’ve seen a steady improvement in my painting. I would encourage anyone who wants to learn to paint to try and paint from life every day.
'This is a painting I did recently and I thought I would take you through the steps and thoughts I had whilst painting it.'
Demonstration: Freesias in a Quimper Jug
Stage one - the set-up
I chose this set up because I always gravitate towards colour and pattern.
I love this little Quimper vase from Brittany and I like the way it complements the orange embroidered cloth.
The lemons are to balance the composition.
I’m a great admirer of Jeremy Galton and I love the way he contrasts the natural colour of flowers with man made patterns on embroidered tablecloths and wallpaper.
I prefer brightly coloured still lifes and I’m not really a fan of classical chiaroscuro work.
Stage two - blocking in
I work on a piece of mdf which was first prepared with gesso.
First I paint a neutral ground with burnt sienna acrylic paint and then make a fairly detailed drawing using a thinned mixture of ultramarine blue and burnt umber oil paint.
I try to get the proportions right at the beginning but they always get altered slightly as I go along!
I start by blocking in the main areas of the painting giving a rough idea of value and colour using thinned paint.
The freesias are still in bud so I’m waiting for them to bloom before I start painting them.
Stage three - the flowers
The next day I start painting the flowers and stems.
First I look carefully at all the different hues and values I can see in the petals.
Then I mix a variety of warm and cool creamy greys in different values.
I like to have the mixtures all ready so that I can concentrate on painting without having to keep stopping to mix a new colour.
To make the mixtures I use varying amounts of cadmium red, cadmium yellow and ultramarine blue with titanium white.
I use mixtures of ivory black, cadmium yellow and ultramarine blue to make the greens for the stems.
I keep working on the flowers until I'm satisfied they are done because I know tomorrow they will have changed!
Stage four - the cloth and lemons
Next I mix up warm and cool versions of purply grey for the cloth, using the same three primaries as before, but I add a little alizarin crimson if I want the grey to look more purply.
When painting the jug I model the basic form of the jug with dark and light versions of a creamy brown, then have fun adding the pattern on top. I don’t wait for the paint to dry before I add the pattern.
To paint the lemons I find different mixes of violet and cadmium yellow to be very helpful.
I also make a pool of green and add touches of this to the violet/yellow mixes for cooler areas on the lemons, and a pool of orange to add to the violet/yellow mix for warmer areas.
I try not to emphasise value changes on the lemons too much and the highlights are quite muted.
Stage five - the cloth pattern
I begin to paint the pattern on the cloth.
I mix dark and light versions of the orange with cadmium red and yellow and touches of ultramarine blue.
I keep the orange muted with ultramarine blue so it’s not so vivid that it dominates the painting.
Also it’s important to keep the pattern symmetrical with the different shapes lining up as otherwise it will look odd.
Stage six - the finished painting
Freesias in Quimper Jug, oil on board, (8x8ins.)
I check the painting in the mirror behind me - this is a good way to see if anything leaps out and looks wrong.
Another way of checking I’ve found is to take photos and look at the painting on the computer. I realise I have to make a few refinements to the cloth and orange embroidery and I finish off the lemons.
It’s very useful to take photos of the progress of a painting because you can look back and think - hmm, maybe it was better at a previous stage!
I’m thinking now it might have been better to leave the cloth plain white – but that is for another painting!
This painting took five days of painting 3-4 hours a day.
I always paint wet on wet and don’t usually use a medium as I like the paint to be thick and the brushstrokes to show.
Sometimes we may include links to online retailers, from which we might receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate links do not influence editorial coverage and will only be used when covering relevant products.