Lemons and Silver – California still life oil painting

“Lemons and Silver” – 8 7/8″ x 7 7/8″ – oil on masonite –


  1. Jenny
    June 24, 2007

    The reading and studying help in understanding “what went wrong”. *lol* I agree that practice is the key.

    That’s a beautiful painting of your lemons. You should be pleased.

  2. andrea
    June 24, 2007

    I love this Karen. How lucky to have a lemon tree in the garden – that just seems so crazy to me here in the UK. And what a great garage sale find (we don’t have garage sales either). I love the way you have painted both the fruit and the tray. I would have no idea how you capture silver in oils. Brilliant.

  3. Felicity
    June 24, 2007

    Lovely painting! I was enjoying your comments until you said ‘it just doesn’t work that way’! I’m so hoping for painting something, anything will become second nature. Oh well, I always knew it would come down to practise! :)

  4. Brenda Yarborough
    June 24, 2007

    Gorgeous job, Karen! I love the way you’ve captured the light hitting the top leaf – I can almost see through it. I think this is one of your best still lifes.

  5. Jo Castillo
    June 24, 2007

    Beautiful and you are so right. Practice, not osmosis, is the answer.

  6. Irene
    June 24, 2007

    Lovely painting Karen. Do you find it hard to switch between watercolor and oils?

  7. Karen
    June 24, 2007

    Thank you everyone …
    I find that when I have practiced something enough that I do become quicker at doing it. That’s something to watch out for, though, because it it means I may not be thinking as much as I should be.

    Felicity, I think what i meant to say was that reading and watching teacher demos alone isn’t enough to make something second nature. I may intellectually know some things about advancing and receding colors, edge control and brush handling, but until I hold the brush in my hand and mix the paint and put one stroke next to another, it’s just potentially useful information.

    Irene – that’s a very good question! I don’t find it difficult to switch back to watercolor because I’ve been doing watercolor for more time, but it is challenging moving into oils. The brushes are different, and the way you hold the brush is different but there are many things that are exactly the same – such as composition, values, color, edge definition, and so on. So it is really just a matter of learning how to move a different kind of paint around, not learning everything all over again. I’m thinking that before I disturb the lemon/silver still life set up that I should paint it in watercolor to see what I can learn from that.

  8. Sherie
    June 24, 2007

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  9. margaret hunt
    June 24, 2007

    you put Duane to shame…lovely job!

  10. Mariana
    June 24, 2007

    Karen, it’s beautiful. I love the way you painted the silver, that must have been tough.

  11. Karen
    June 25, 2007

    Sherie, Maggie, thank you – he’s the master, we can all learn a lot from his work!
    Mariana – thanks – it wasn’t that difficult because I didn’t try to follow the pattern too carefully – I just suggested it. The trick is just looking for the different colors in the reflections and then spotting them in in a random way. I went back and smudged some of the background glints with my finger because the sharp focus on them was making the background come forward too much.

  12. Casey
    June 25, 2007

    Beautiful, Karen.

  13. df
    June 25, 2007

    This is just stunningly beautiful. I love the colors, composition and overall feeling I get from it.
    It’s very elegant. Makes me want to do some oils RIGHT NOW!

  14. Ronell
    June 28, 2007

    This is such a beautiful painting Karen….love it!

  15. Marie Fox
    February 9, 2009

    You’ve really captured the different materials – the textures, the weight and reflectiveness of the silver, crispness and transparency of the leaves and hardness of the fresh lemons. Beautiful work!

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