The first step in beginning a painting is developing an idea I feel drawn to express. This can be triggered by an object of to relay an intended message.
I set up the still life composition in my studio, carefully adjusting the lighting, colours, and items until I feel they are in harmony. Once I am happy with the way it looks and feels I can begin.
First I prime my board to ensure I have a smooth and stable surface to work on. This usually requires one coat of sealant, and three coats of Gesso that are sanded between coats.
Once dry, I begin with a loose painted sketch. I try to paint from life whenever I can as I believe this allows more dimension and accuracy in the artworks. There is a certain time pressure when working from life, especially when painting flowers of fruits which spoil rapidly.
Next I begin the under painting. This is done by laying in the darkest shadows and progressing through the painting to the lightest lights. I try to capture and define the forms as perfectly as I can while keeping the painting a little loose in the first pass. After this initial lay in, I allow the painting to dry and spend some time contemplating what needs adjusting.
In the second layer of the painting I work on one area at a time until each part is complete, in a similar method to the Dutch painters. When the painting is complete I may make a few touch ups or add a glaze to heighten or define a painting. Once the painting is complete it is set aside to dry before it is varnished.