Here's a still life I completed as a Christmas present for my brother Mark.
Painting it was a really rich and wonderful experience. I gathered all the fruit myself at a local produce market (except for the pomegranate, which was from Mark's own tree) and shot some arrangements using a deep purple sweater of my wife's as a background. Having chosen a good image, I went to work. What I learned in painting this still life was how much I've learned recently. I've always heard it said that down the centuries artists have opined that painting figures and portraits will teach you everything you need to know about painting. All I've painted for the past few years has been figures and portraits. Thus I take the point.
What did I learn by painting these fruits? I learned that I know a lot about shading and glazing. I learned that I have given myself permission to go beyond "pretty" pastel shades toward deeper "oilish" shades. I learned that precision in drawing and brushwork is less important than technique--for pulling forth a vivid effect, I mean (precision in drawing and brushwork is still very important).
I like the way the persimmon "pops." I like the mix of colors. I like the texture on the pomegranate and the tangerine.