How to Paint Still Life: quick demonstration w/ Todd M. Casey

Updated: Apr 2

Keep it simple and learn to paint by following the masters. Artists have been painting fruits and vegetables since the Ancient Greeks to stay sharp and demonstrate their skills. Follow along as artist Todd M. Casey demonstrates how to paint a basic still life from the first outlines to the final varnish using CCS Oil Painting Mediums and Lavender Damar Varnish:

Todd uses a neutral, brown color (sometimes called a grisaille) to define the abstract shape of the pepper. He uses a few lines to indicate the line of the shadow and where the stem connects to the fruit. He then goes right into oil painting with color!

Todd uses a light-red and a dark-red to define the light/shade of the fruit and a few light yellow accents to define the highlights. A light-purple and a dark-purple define the table-cloth and shadow cast by the fruit. A soft black tone sets the background apart from the foreground.

Todd continues painting by filling-in his preliminary drawing using these colors. His brushstrokes overlap to create soft transitions between the dramatic contrasts of the red, purple, and black. He carefully compares his painting to the still life in front of him; observation guides his brush. As he adds paint he carefully models his pepper to create the effect of volume by mimicking the transitions from light to dark that he observes in the real-life pepper set up in front of him.

Towards the end, Todd paints the green of the stem and makes some final adjustments to the painting by blending his brushstrokes while adding lighter and darker shades of red in order to further sculpt the pepper.

Todd also shows us how to varnish a still life using our Lavender Damar Varnish and one of our Nuovo Brushes. It's a very easy process, but painters be warned: oil paintings must be dry through-and-through before varnishing. That's why Todd demonstrates his technique using a study of a tomato that he painted a few months ago:

Just leave it to dry lying flat for a half-hour and voilà! The varnish really brings the deeper tones to life! A whole other level of depth is revealed after varnishing:

To see more of Todd M. Casey's work visit his site:

Or, follow him on Instagram: @toddmcasey

He's a master of still life and has an instructional book where you can learn many more secrets of still life painting.







526 West 26th Street, Studio #415, New York, NY, 10001


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