This autumn, I wanted to see how painting directly on a 10″ x 8″ copper panel compares to painting on linen glued to an aluminum panel — my normal support for oil painting. Copper has a long history and solid reputation among traditional painters. I want to see if it will make bright objects like brass and lemon glow. So begins the Copper Challenge. In this post, I describe my setup and approach to both my “control” panel on linen and my copper panel.

Alan Douglas Ray, "Orchid Still Life", 18"x14", oil on panel, $1800

I recently finished this still life set up in my living room on a side table. The light is quite intense. I normally limit my painting sessions to the early afternoon, an hour before the sun reaches the window and changes the shadows and highlights on the petals and cloth. Not shown is the “please do not move” post-it note beside the cloth. It wasn’t effective anyway. I had difficulty getting my camera and Photoshop to capture the true colour of the orchid petals (a pale blue-violet).  The photo below is the best I could do.  The painting is 18″x14″, oil on birch panel.

January 26, 2016: Today, I finished the last of my three “porch” paintings early this afternoon, another 12″ x 9″ still life study with a blue bottle, a slice of lemon, and a blue marble sitting on the red napkin. As an experiment, for the last stage of this painting, I used thicker paint mixed with some “oleogel” medium instead of my usual mix of linseed oil and mineral spirits. No high winds, heavy rain, or army of ghost ants to worry about today. Click on the Image above to see the full story for each of the three studies.

This post is a conclusion to my last still life painting post from December 16th. I finished this still life project for our Get Real Artists group over the holidays. Below left is the finished piece, 16″x 12′, oil on birch panel. The dark colours have since sunken in, but that will change once I varnish the painting. On the right is the painting photographed next to the set up for the still life, on the corner of the old cabinet. I’ve named the piece after the book, “Colour”, by Victoria Finlay.