This is a step by step of a commission that I just completed for a client who is collecting a series of these long narrow still life canvases. I had never thought of painting starfruit because it wasn't a fruit I was at all familiar with, however, it has beautiful form and created an interesting shadow along the edge of the bowl. My client requested this particular cloth, which is an Egyptian Prayer Rug, and the plate is Turkish. It made a nice exotic combination.
Because the plate had white in it, the cloth was creamy white, and the starfruit was basically white with touches of yellow and green, I had to evolve into how to create a vibrant colourful painting, as my client and I both love colour. So I started with something I know well - grapes.
I started adding colour and pumped up the vibrancy of the star fruit by bringing out the yellow and green.
I decided at this point that the contrast of the shadow shapes in the cloth were far too strong, (I was working from a few photographs as well as some of it from life) so as I changed the colour of the cloth, I also softened the shadow effect.
This photo was taken inside on my easel and the colours appear very cool. I slept on it and decided to soften the contrast slightly and warm up the lights a bit.
Here is the final painting which I shot outdoors in the shade. The colours came out much warmer here. I felt it was a very busy painting with the patterns in the cloth and plate, so for compositional purposes I softened the colours in the fabric above the plate.
I find commissions very challenging because they are someone else's inspiration rather than your own. In the end, this painting became one of mine, but I had some moments of struggling. I really like the person I was painting this for, and concentrated on created a thing of beauty for this special client.