Everything is Relative

If you paint region by region as I do, make sure you’re aware that each individual object is part of a larger whole. The learning painter is often so detail oriented that he easily loses sight of this fact. One must constantly shift one’s focus from macro vision to micro vision and back again. These iPhone pics of my current work-in-progress (WIP) demonstrates how I paint a bit of the surrounding areas to give me a better context for finishing the more important elements. 


Note: this is just the complete overpainting. There will be some glazing applied later which will add richness and subtlety to the color. 

Finished and Framed. Ready for shipping.

27 thoughts on “Everything is Relative”

  1. Yo soy tu Fan número uno! Tú eres el maestro en el arte de éste siglo.
    Eres genial!

    I’m your number one fan! You’re the Maestro of the art of this century.
    You’re great!


  2. Thanks for candidly talking about painting. I am having some trouble with 1. paint application both for faster and slower painting. Best Bob

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. Thanks for sharing what I believe is one of the most important aspects of drawing and painting David. Every form relates to one another and everything relates to the whole. If we keep this in mind, we create something that is hopefully aesthetically pleasing, and in our minds, successful. This positive reinforcement helps us to continue to strive for creating better art. Steve


  4. David, how many applications of varnish do you typically apply after a piece is complete? I’ve applied just one so far and it looks good but I’m unsure if I should apply a second coat. Thanks for your reply! 🙂


    1. I just apply one thin coat of Gamvar. There is sometimes a problem with getting it to stick. But I have learned how to deal with that. What kind of varnish do you use?


      1. I’m using Gamvar also. I had gone on YouTube and watched the Gamvar rep apply a thin coat in a vigorous circular motion, really working it in to get the most coverage. I was surprised that he did it that way instead of straight strokes from left to right type of thing. I had no problems! What do you think? Have you seen that kind of application before?


          1. I agree with you David. I don’t see the point in working it in quite so vigorously either. Thanks for your reply and congrats on the Artist’s mag cover! I recognized the picture immediately because I had watched you painting her face on your video earlier. Happy creating! Jeannie


  5. Hello David, thank you for sharing so generously. I have a question on your shading of the bowl. Is the deep, reddish purple reflective light from the tablecloth or the shadow? I would think that the blue in the bowl is the reflective light from the tablecloth. I strive to understand the nuances in your work in order to develop maturity in my painting.


    1. Yes, the blue color in the brass pot is a reflection from the blue cloth. I will probably enhance it a bit in a final glaze. The nature of these kinds of reflections differ depending upon the light environment and the surface character of the object.


      1. May I ask what kind of lighting you paint with in your studio? It appears that you have a natural north light; What do you use to light your subject and your painting?


          1. Thank you, David, for responding to my inquiries. You are a very giving person and a deeply gifted artist. Would you please consider coming to Dallas? Shiner Bock is pretty good beer.


  6. I paint in a similar fashion – starting with an ebauche and then inching along each object going for a finish, or nearest to as I can. One problem I am always having with this method is it feels as though I am staring at the work through a straw, and I can’t get a sense of what the completed piece will look like until I have a certain percentage of it finished. This always scares me because it can take a significant amount of time to complete an area, and I’m constantly wondering if I am hitting the mark so to speak. Do you have this challenge as well? How do you confront it?

    Thank you,


    1. Yes, that is the challenge with this kind of painting. For small uncomplicated work it’s not so much an issue, but with larger more complex work many artists first do a macquet, or small mock-up. It’s a small study to work out color, value, and potential compositional issues. Most of the old masters did this for their large ambitious work. The key in doing such a study is to avoid detail and just focus on the big picture. Then you won’t have to spend too much time on it.

      Another strategy is to start in an area that contains a nice value contrast. In this way you work out some value relationships early on, which gives a kind of key to the rest of your painting.


  7. Bonjour,
    Depuis des années, je cherchais un maître dans la réalisation de tableaux avec une technique des anciens, c’est chose faîte…
    Que dire de plus.


  8. David, in a painting such as this one, is there any transparent glazing involved or is it all direct painting layer by layer?


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