Sonia Bacchus still life in the style of old masters

Sonia Bacchus – Still life in the style of old masters

It was great to welcome Sonia back to demonstrate her take on painting a still life, using acrylic and oils.

still life scene

Starting with placing four objects carefully, not too close together and giving a sense of space, then considering the lighting and placing her lamp to maximum shadow effect.

Sonia Baccus still life sketch

The room we were in was well lit and it was hard not to be deceived by the additional light, Sonia said that if she were with her students the lights would be off altogether and only the still life lit. We will have to remember that for next time she comes she is the first artist that doesn’t mind the lights being off!

Sonia starts with a sketch of her composition, ideally a colour sketch. She worked on cardboard as it is easy to cut to size, and her choice of backgrounds are green for portraits and terracotta for other paintings.

Beginning with acrylics painted thinly she sketched out the composition outlines then applied a wash of violet, green and brown mixed with yellow ocre with a 2.5” decorators brush for the background. Using varying brush strokes for impact and interest.

Then using thin layers of acrylic finding the lights, darks and mid-tone of the under painting getting the basic colours in place.

Sonia Baccus still life demonstration

The second half of the demonstration moved to oils, with her preference for Reeves, Windsor & Newton, Rowney oils. Using painting medium to thin the paint Sonia began building up the layers to create impact.

Sonia chatted her way through the demonstration giving lots of information about how the “Old Masters” were painted, and lots of tips on how we can have a go too. Then demonstrated how colours can react to each other when placed together, often giving a different hue than imagined. It was a great demonstration, appreciated by all thank you Sonia!

The following week we turned up at the new Nanpantan Art group session, set up a still life and Barry said he was going to have a go at painting the way Sonia demonstrated the week before, starting with Acrylics then moving on to oils, to make it more of a challenge he did a double act with Neil both working on the same picture.


A couple of us joined in, with the Acrylics, it was a very good exercise, we all enjoyed it, and of course Barry and Neil’s painting was awesome even though still a work in progress.


If you would like to come and join us at Nanpantan Art Group, whatever your standard we would love to meet you.

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