Cherry Jubliee

When Life gives you lemons....make Cherry Jubilee 
Here is the still life SET UP IN MY Studio with the LED Light On-
 I LOVE working from LIFE!
But I learned early on to photo my set up.....
since my Cats think rumpled up paper is the best toy in the world. 

A new gallery curator for Abend with new ideas for shows in 2015 has me shifting gears!
So the big still life that was here is now on hold!

I love special shows, it gets the creative juices cooking like nothing else!
As a Gallery Artist many times you are asked to focus your paint brushes 
on a theme to fit shows! Or to enter a special show. 
You can think this is against your creative MUSE, but mine loves the challenge!

So what is NEW in my studio are a series of "Masterpiece Jewels"
These are HIGH Realism, oiled between layers so they are super smooth 
when varnished. I'll write more on this below. 

With "Cherry Jubilee" my goal was to get reflected color on the right side of the paper. 

The other IDEAS for paintings in this series.....
Chrome Selfie 11 x 14 -in process
A Bright Idea 9 x 18 - In process
Restored 6 x 24 - In process
Time Constraints 10 x 12- planning
Shades of Blue - planning
Misfit- planning

Why not work on only one at a time? Drying time takes a few days under lights and warmth.
So switching to another similar painting keeps me painting, while others dry.
this is a series of 6 images I plan to its fun to do a series that all fits together, and lets you explore an idea or painting style. 

For High realism I use board, not linen.
You want to work on a smooth surface, but not slick. So I have found that the Ampersand
boards have a perfect egg like surface. 

Here is the block in of Cherry Jubilee 8 x 10, it has been drying and so now it's ready for a 
sanding. I use a tiny touch of walnut oil on a makeup sponge and lightly cover the area I plan to work, then using 600 grit wet dry sandpaper lightly sand off any JUNK that is in that dry paint area. Then rub clean with another makeup sponge. If your careful you will not loose any paint, but if a few spots pick worries as this is only the first layer of paint.

Why not oil & sand the entire surface? This is a super slow process, so only oil and sand the areas you know you can get done in a painting session. Otherwise the oiled areas you don't get painted will attract more junk (dust bunnies that float in the air is our biggest junk maker). You want the oiled area you plan to paint to feel like a oily forehead. So be sure to wipe of any excess. Doing this YOU DO NOT need to add any more oil to your paint. I use the M Graham paint right out of the tube onto the oiled surface.
I'm using TINY filberts to paint this small. I LOVE http://WWW.ARTBRUSH.COM series #431 filberts  they have short hairs so easy to control and 156 angle brushes they work great for this type of painting, then a 1/8 moon mop. 

My goal for this piece was to get the color of cherry juice to reflect on the paper. 
This area will be brighter as the rest of the paper drops into shadow.

Let talk about edges. This is the first layer of paint, and while painting I used a tiny soft brush to soften edges between shapes with a 1/8" moon mop from Artbrush (see clip below).  Painting rumpled up paper, or wax paper, or tracing paper, is a great lesson on edges...its a big project in a tiny space. This paper took two full painting days to block in. 

It does take a couple of days to dry under lights and with warmth. But I love that I have NO CHEMICAL or paint SMELLS in my studio. Which turps and other mediums have to speed drying times. For classes I use M Graham WALNUT/ALKYD medium to speed drying. Still no smell.


I hope you enjoy this little clip on edges. Pardon the learning curve on filming with my IPAD.
I'll post the full photo below, so you can compare the difference this second layer of paint has made. 

The colored area looks a bit warm at this I may back it off by lifting a bit, or put more highlights on in the next stage that are pinker, I wanted it to be warmer than the cool gray shadow areas....Pretty happy with it at this more layer after this...high lights and deepest darks. But first it must dry. (also the difference between the two photos, one is with my camera the other filmed with the IPAD under northlights.

Values: from the first application of paint using only Ultramarine blue & Transparent Red Iron Oxide (similar to burnt sienna) with a touch of white. I made several values of this gray for the first block in.
Being very careful with EDGES, so one side of each shape is hard the other soft. Unless its in shadow then I soften both sides of the shape. NOTICE the softer edge on the glass. I used my 1/8" moon mop to run this edge, 1/2 on the red the other half on the gray. This gives a more realistic impression of how we really see. Not everything should be HARD edged.

The second photo is the same mixture of gray, but I added a bit of my background color to deepen theh gray and lean it toward the color of the background. Helping the paper have more transparent areas. NOTICE how I didn't repaint everything, only adding darks in selected areas. Again I used a variety of mixtures for a 3 value range.

 Here is "Cherry Jubliee" 8 x 10 finished, True colors in this top image with my good camera. The final steps were to do a glaze to deepen the dark folds of the paper. This is really important that the layer below is dry-dry dry, so that you may blend the glaze from dark to lighter without loosing your details below. I used a deep purple gray that goes with the deep purple background.

Then I started adding my highlight colors in the folds, and I wish you could see it in person! There are blues, to pinks to coral to blue grays, I loved painting them in. Then I and sparkles on the foot of the glass and cherry juice puddles. A bit more deep alizarin Crimson in parts of the glass and juice. And adjusted the top edge of the glass and added the gray highlight that is a visual clue to which is the front and back of the glass.

Hope you have enjoyed the tips and process. Below is the painting framed. I use black frames as it doesn't take away from the art work and is what my galleries prefer.

My DVD lessons come with a pattern and reference photo so you can paint along STEP BY STEP
JULY 2015
Celebrating my Birthday month with a 1/2 PRICE SALE on Oil and Watercolor DVD LESSONS
youtube previews and payment though Pay Pal+ shipping


  1. Love seeing your process Arleta! Can't wait to see the next steps!

  2. Always loved Arleta's work it's amazing.

  3. Love your painting.Thanks for all the great tips.
    Agnes Simon

  4. I'm always so excited when I see your name on my incoming emails, I know I'm going to see something wonderful and learn so much more. Thank you so much for all your help over the years, you have improved my artwork enormously.

  5. Thanks everyone! it's fun to share!