1. Setup. Here's a little sake still life with a coral-colored shirt as my background. The chroma is a bit intense, so I should neutralize that somewhat. I've got my linen-mounted panel secured to a board on my easel, and I'm ready to go!
2. Drawing in raw umber. Nothing too fancy. Just getting the sizes right and my ellipses somewhat accurate. I will correct them further as I paint.
3. Palette. Not a lot of color in this setup, so all I need is (clockwise from bottom left) burnt umber, cadmium red, cad orange (2 piles - one for pure grabs of orange, the other for mixes with dirty brushes), cad yellow, titanium white (same clean & dirty piles), raw umber, ivory black, and ultramarine blue. The mixed bit in the middle right is my base color for the background. It's mostly orange and white with touches of cad red,raw umber, and black to neutralize.
4. Background values. Just a basic 3 which I will blend on the panel as I go. FYI - as I lightened the value, I needed more light warms to counter the coolness of adding white, so orange and yellow were added. For the dark value, I needed warm darks, and I used red and burnt umber, adding touches of black if it got too warm. I mixed enough to cover the panel and have some left over for corrections and reflective light in the objects.
5. Background block in. Simple enough - just adding to the drawing of the objects by establishing edges. The cast shadow is basic, and will be amended later. The gradation is designed to keep the eyes in the painting, focused on the objects.
6. Mixing the object colors. The ceramic is pretty neutral, and not full white, either. With the exception of the specular highlights (generally speaking, on shiny objects, these are the highlights that mirror the light source directly), it's maybe a value 9 or 9 1/2. The cool shadow plane side of the objects are about a 3 1/2 to 4. That's on the far right. The others are strictly neutral (white, raw umber, black) and are 6, 8 and a 9.5 right to left. I will add warms to these to imitate the background color infusion as I paint - mostly a red-orange, no doubt.
7. Blocking in objects. No detail yet, of course. Just getting a sculptural sense of things. The decanter isn't really round, it's hand made, so it's a little asymmetrical. I'm making it more symmetrical, just to keep things simple. It's at this time, I've decided to make a little change.
8. Pattern detail and... changes! Um, yeah, if you hadn't already called it, everything was a little right-side heavy, so I added the second cup. Better balance now, no? So, I blocked it all in, and now I'm going wet-into wet with ultramarine blue for the bamboo design on the decanter. I'm refining the reflective lights, too, as well as the cast shadow definition.
9. More detail & refinement. Completing the rear cup, trying to keep the values a little more compressed, in order to make the front cup really pop. Again, I'm using background colors to correct the ellipses and blending edge planes to keep the cups looking rounded.
10. Finished! Notice the brighter lights and slightly warmer tones in the foreground cup. It's the closest thing to the viewer, so in order to maintain a sense of atmospheric perspective, these are the "tricks" you need to employ.
Other than a bit of a design glitch, this one was pretty straightforward. The limited palette, due to the predominance of the ceramic, helped speed it along a bit... Although the multiple ellipses and patterns made up for it. All in a day's work, as they say.