Intro to Oil Painting: Part 2 Still Life Painting | Joshua Johnson | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Intro to Oil Painting: Part 2 Still Life Painting

teacher avatar Joshua Johnson, Freelance Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Still Life Painting Intro


    • 2.

      Setup: Objects


    • 3.

      Setup: Environment


    • 4.

      Setup: Lighting


    • 5.

      Sketch and Composition


    • 6.

      Painting: Layout on Canvas


    • 7.

      Painting: First Layer


    • 8.

      Painting: Refining and Finish


    • 9.



  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Do you enjoy painting but have no idea what to paint? Artists have used the STILL LIFE for centuries to express themselves. In this class you can learn how to create your very own STILL LIFE PAINTING from objects in your home that will also develop your skills as an artist. 

This is the 2nd class in a series on OIL PAINTING. If you have never used oil paints before, I recommend you watch my 1st class "Intro to Oil Painting Part 1: Abstract Geometrical Composition" where I explain all the basic materials and steps in getting started with oils. However, if you just want to learn about the subject of still life painting, feel free to jump right in this class!

This class covers:

-What objects to use in a still life

-Where to set up a still life

-How to light a still life

-How to choose the right composition

-Step-by-Step process of painting a still life

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Joshua Johnson

Freelance Illustrator


I'm a freelance illustrator currently residing in Jacksonville, Florida, having previously lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico - Austin, TX - Pittsburg, KS. I draw traditionally with pen and ink and then digitatize and manipulate with Photoshop and a drawing tablet to add color, alter composition, and finalize my pieces. I'm fairly new to the industry, coming from a music teaching background, so my client list is small, but I have done several personal projects over the last two years (see my finished portfolio on my website) and sell these items using the online marketplace as well as local vendor events. 

See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Still Life Painting Intro: Hi, I'm Joshua Johnson, and this is my second introductory class oil painting. This your first time using oil paints. I highly recommend you go back and watch my first class abstract geometrical composition. In that class, I go over all the basics of getting started oil pains. But if you're just interested learning about still life painting jump right into this class . Still, life is a genre painting that has been around for centuries. The reason many artists are attracted to it is because of the amount of control you have on the composition. You can include objects that are easier or harder to paint. Depending upon your skill. Though you can choose personal objects that have significant meaning to you, you can leave it sparse and minimal, or you can layer the objects into a complex design. There are countless possibilities. I'll show you how to set up your own still life right in your own home. You don't have to purchase anything, actually, go out of your way to create a composition. You can use any object that is within arm's reach. Once you experiment with different setups, I'll have you choose one to create a painting Then I will take you through each step of the painting process, and in the end you'll have a completed, still life painting, no matter what your skill level lives. Still, life painting is a great way to develop your skills as an artist and create original artwork. I look forward to having you in my class. 2. Setup: Objects: the first thing that you want to consider when setting up a still life is what objects to include their two main types of objects. These are man made and natural in man made objects. You have opaque objects which are not see through, and transparent objects which are see through opaque objects are great for beginners. Because you don't have to worry about all the detail of what you're seeing behind the object or through the object, then the next step up from there would be a no cake object that has a design on it. Then you can try moving onto transparent objects, and something with a flat, clear surface is a good place to start. Then you can step it up to a transparent object that maybe has some variations in the surface so that what you see through it is broken up into smaller and smaller details. You can also have something with words or tiny details for an added challenge. When it comes to natural objects you have. Of course, food such as apples are good for beginners because their shapes are fairly simple and their colors air solved. For an added level of challenge you could go to Mawr complex shaped vegetables such as cauliflower, then also in the natural category. You have houseplants or rocks or shells. Large leaf plants air good for beginners because these shapes are larger, easier to paint. But if you want more of a challenge, try getting a plant that has smaller leaves, and it'll allow you to add more details. To get more variation in your composition, you can add fabric such as blankets or maybe assured or sweater. Something with just one color is a good place to start, and you can drape it over your objects so that you're getting to paint all the different folds. Higher degree would be getting a fabric that has a pattern in it. So not only are you having to paint the folds of the fabric, but you're also having to follow the pattern, and then you can layer your objects on top of each other to play around with your composition. If you happen to have a collection of items, this is a great way to showcase your collection. Perhaps you collect bones or feathers or jewelry or coins or musical instruments. No matter what objects you have around the house. You can use this as an opportunity to express yourself 3. Setup: Environment: the next thing you want to consider is where you going to put these objects? What is going to be in the background and what is the setting of your painting to start? If this is your first time painting a still life or you're a beginner painter, it's a good idea to keep the background simple. Start with just a flat table in a single wall. This allows you to focus on practicing, painting the objects and making them look three dimensional and as realistic as you want. Once you become more confident with your ability to paint these objects, then you can start changing up the background and experimenting with different setups. If I just have a table in a wall, this could be anywhere. The setting is just kind of anonymous. If I want my background to be more specific, then I just include more details. I show maybe a window or a countertop so that you know that you're in my kitchen or I show a bed and a shelf so that you know you're in my bedroom. You could make the setting as complex or as simple as you desire 4. Setup: Lighting: Lastly, you want to consider the lighting that you're going to use. Not only will it affect the difficulty of your painting, but it will also determine the mood. There are two main types of light. These are hard, light and softly hard light is when the light source is shining directly on your objects. This creates very defined shadows. It's very good for beginners to use hard light because you don't have to worry about blending the edges too much. A soft light is where the light source is not directly shining on the object. Maybe it's reflecting around a corner or it's shining through a transparent object. This creates blurry, loose shadows. Sometimes you can't even tell where the shadow even ends. It's a gradual transition. This is more difficult to pain because you have to blend and there is no defined edges. So consider that when you're setting it up right now, I've got this plant set up with natural light coming in through a window. The sun isn't shining directly through the window, so I don't have a very hard shadow. Now. If I wanted a hard light, then I can use artificial light. I can use a lamp, and the great thing about movable is that I can create different dramatic settings may be lit from behind or lit from above for lit from below. 5. Sketch and Composition: try out several different setups before you decide on the one that you want to paint. Here are several different setups that I created notice that I use opaque objects so they will be easier to paint than transparent lines. At first I use just white objects, but I decided that I wanted a pop of color, so I included an orange bowl. I tried adding in a table cloth, but I liked sharper contrasts between the dark table and lighter objects. So I ended up choosing this image to paint. So now that we have the image chosen, what we're going to do is we're going to sketch it out on sketchbook paper before we go in and painted on canvas. So what tell me is just a loose piece of paper or a sketchbook pencil and an eraser going to start with a rectangle that represents my campus. Now I'm going to just lay in the major shapes of so the outlines of the objects and where there is shadows. Now that I've got my major outlines and some of the edges of the light and shadow drawn, I'm gonna go in and take an even closer look where the colors change and drawn outlines of these color areas. Lastly, what I'm going to take a look at is where the light is the brightest. These air called highlights. Doing this before we actually start painting helps our eyes to start to see where the colors separate, where the different areas of light and shadow way and how it looks as a total picture noticed that I'm not shading in any of these areas. I'm not looking for actual representation in this drawing. What I'm doing is I'm training my I follow the edges of the objects and notice where I'm going to be placing the different colors with my pain. Now we're ready to start. 6. Painting: Layout on Canvas: keep your sketch on hand so that you can refer to it when you're painting. The sketch should be able to help you see where different shapes are that you're going to be painting. We're gonna need a canvass board or canvas, and I'm using eight by 10 Canvass board. I've got my palate. Remember, if you're using a paper pallet, make sure that his wax coated paper town my paint thinner palette knife for my colors. I'm going with more vibrant colors than I did in the last video. And the reason for this is that I've got the Orange Bowl that I need to paint. And in order to get that rich orange color, I'm gonna need some saturated colors. I wouldn't be able to do that with yellow Oakar and Indian red, so that's why I chose thes. And then again, instead of using a black coming, use a raw number and then, of course, I've got my titanium white for my brushes. I'm gonna be using my flat 1/4 inch brush my round four and then for the highlights and the details are going to be using my round, so we're going to paint just like we did our drawing. We're going to start with large areas of light and shadow, and then we're gonna break down those areas into smaller and smaller areas of different colors. I'm going to use my round brush with a thin color, and I'm going to sketch very first debt that we did when we were drawing large outlines. And I'm going to use my cabinet, yellow pale, you to sketch it. And I'm gonna go ahead and get each of my colors on my palette. And I put down bought a white because I know I'm gonna be mixing it with all the colors light up, so it might be able to invest in a larger tube of white. Okay, so we're gonna Dippenaar paint thinner, make sure it doesn't have any things left over from the last time. Your pain. And then we're gonna get it right in that yellow. Thin it out. So it's almost like a watercolor. It doesn't have to be exact because as we're painting, we can push the shapes. Doesn't have to be exact, but try and get it is accurate is possible. Now is the time that you want to adjust the shapes. So take your time on this. Sketch it out. If you mess up, just dip your brush and paint thinner and you could rub it right out and then go right back in and make the line in the correct spot. You can always take a paper towel, Dad that area, then clean it up even more if you need Teoh. Now we're ready. Toe lay in our first wears of color. 7. Painting: First Layer: and I'm going to start with my dark. So the darkest part of my image is my table, and I'm going to just lay in a flat color of the whole table, and then I'll be able to go back in and add in different variations of color. So I'm going to mix my blue with my raw number to get almost black color of the table. Now, the final test of whether or not I got a color that is close to what I want is when I actually put it on my campus, we'll be there and you'll notice that I actually got too much paint thinner. So I'm gonna wipe that off because I want the pain to go on ice heavy. I don't want to be watered down, so there we've got my large area of the dark table way out. I left a few spots where the line is hitting the table, and that's where I'll Adams colors. Now I'm gonna go into the objects on the darks of that, and those darks are actually a little bit lighter than dirt on the table. So I'm gonna lighten it up just by adding a little bit of white, more blue, more wrong number. I'm going to switch my round brush to get smaller areas of the dark's. Next. I'm gonna lay in my medium tones so noticing that on this side I've got kind of the yellow light shining through on this side. There's that natural blue light that's coming in through a window, but for now, and focus on that area in between them. That's kind of a neutral gray, but it's much lighter than this grades. I'm more white. Okay, then, once I think that makes something close, get him to switch back to my flat brush. Now I know the same that when I'm I was about to paint medium tones on the plate here because it is a white just like white mugs. But since it's got orange bowl sitting on top of it, that orange is reflecting into the white so the medium tone on the plate is a little bit more red orange than the medium tones on the cups that air just reflecting the black table . So I'm going to actually at in a little bit of red and yellow to this gray. When I paint those medium tones on the plate. See, Now brush that other great color out. Go back with this reddish grey, but it late now. As soon as I put it down, I'm already noticing that it is too dark for that side. But there are some spots over on this side that are this dark. So I'm gonna go ahead and use it on this side of the plate. But then I'm gonna go in white, try. It's a little bit better. A little bit wire. Can I go even lighter? That's what you want to dio. If you mix up the color on your palate, don't feel that you have to use it. You change it until it looks right to you. So there we have our medium tons plate nominal a intermediate tones that when it makes my warning as a mixing. I'm looking at my still life trying to match that color as best I can. It doesn't have to be exact. Okay, let's try this color. No saying that I didn't put my dark underneath the rim of this bull yet. That's because I wanted to mix my orange first, make it darker to get that shadow darken it up, actually lending it in with the horns below it, lending it in with that color below it. Just lighten up, how to go back in and add my lights. So to start with the kind of warm, yellowish glow of the light coming from this try next to my gray news that it needs to be a little bit darker. A little more. Yeah, it's too saturated. So I need to add more this mutual ready. Just noticing that I don't want to be so different. Needs a blend smoothly. It does appear to my I have yellow, so I do want that Go with it. But my initial reaction was to put way too much yellow. So I'm just adding in my cool gray that I made earlier, just even it out a little bit. Get a little bit closer. What? My eyes there. It's much more closer to what Now I'm gonna come in at the lights from the right side, and it's the natural light that's coming in through a window, so it's gonna have a bit more blue than the artificial light that is on the other side. I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna fill in this background color before I had the lightest place . So it iss a little bit between these two shades, so I'm actually gonna mix two of them. Now go back in and the The lightest lights. Since these areas smaller, I'm going to switch over to my round now that I've got most of my white canvas covered up. Now go back into these larger areas of color which called local color, and add in the different small variations that I see with my eyes. So I'm gonna go back into this table, and I'm gonna notice where different colors reflections air in there. Add those variations to give this bland, boring table moralize. Now, I'm gonna do the same for the shadow areas and the light areas. I'm just going to continue to break down large shapes and the smaller variations. This is where it could be fun because I've laid out and done most of my work. So now I get to add more life to the painting by adding those little details Those little variations. So feel free to stop whenever you feel like you're painting is done. At this point, this would be a great exercise because I practiced my drawing. I practiced painting my different shades a practice mixing my colors. But in order for it to feel finished for me, I'm gonna need to push each of these larger areas further and further. So I'm gonna keep going and I encourage you to do the same. 8. Painting: Refining and Finish: - So now that I've really refined a lot of different areas, it's starting to take shape. I'm gonna go in with my round one small, round brush and I'm gonna go in with pure white. Put in those highlands, get a lot of pain on my brush. Then I'm gonna look for those really bright areas. So I've got one right here in my orange bowl. I'm gonna put a huge daughter white, and I don't want to run around too much or it's gonna blend with that orange peonies and it's gonna become dole. So I want to just place that white Montcalm and then I'm a white brush off. Go to the next highlights and I think there I call it good. 9. Conclusions: so we've made it to the conclusion. By this point, hopefully you've completed your still life painting or it's taking longer than you thought . At first, the process seems long and difficult, but the more you do it, the more confident you'll be and the quicker you'll be finishing pains. So stick with it, finish your painting and post it in the group projects of the class. I look forward to seeing your work. The learning doesn't stop. Once you finish painting, you can use this. Now is an opportunity to look back on what you've created and ask critical questions so that your next painting will be an improvement. So here is some things to consider.