Still Life Painting With An Old Gumball Machine

still life painting

“Sugar and Vice – Detail” Craig Shillam

An older Carousel gumball machine was a great model for this particular still life painting. It didn’t move, wither, complain, smell, or take a break. It didn’t even ask for money, although I couldn’t help but notice the coin slot every time I laid eyes on this yellow beauty.

Sugar and Vice, Craig Shillam

Still Life Painting With An Old Gumball Machine

Although I have used an old gumball machine in a still life painting before, I wanted to paint at least one or two more for a variety of reasons:

  1. These old vending machines are fun and loaded with potential.
  2. They evoke a sense of good days gone by.
  3. Hard surfaces to explore such as metal and glass, and the differences between the two.
  4. Reflections.
  5. Bold color.

The items above can be challenging to work with. I am always trying to get better for the next painting, and tackling objects that are difficult is part of my self improvement process. Yellow is a color that gives me more trouble than some other colors, so this was another reason to paint this particular yellow machine.


 Gumball Machine Still Life Painting – The Table Top


Sprinkling the gumballs and other items around the base of the machine was quite fun. There was quite a bit of experimentation in this process. The gumball machine by itself is interesting, but I feel a better still life painting was to be had with some extra fodder on the table top.

Do you remember those packs of candy cigarettes? I thought a pack of those would be a good fit, and was lucky enough to find a pack to add to the fun. Took a bite out of one, won’t do it again. I know somebody is going to ask me if that is a hand rolled joint in this still life painting. I just know it.

As for the piece of paper with the lettering at the bottom left of the painting… my daughter had actually wrote that some time ago while I was  working on another still life painting. I just kept it there because she had never done that before, and the note motivated me. I wanted something in the painting to drop off or go over the front of the table, so the decision was made to include the note in this painting.

When it came to painting the individual gumballs, I chose to paint them without worrying too much if they were perfectly round or not. The main concern was that the colors be “clean” and not muddy. Who wants to put a dirty looking gumball in their mouth? (I know…little kids).


  Still Life Painting with an Old Gumball Machine – Wrapping it Up


This particular still life painting was like most of them: fun and challenging. The fun is in the whole process of trying to make a painting worthy of having other people see it. The arranging of items in the painting is quite fun. The challenges in this piece were several, including of all things the background. The background just did not do it for me the first time. I could not stand it, so it had to be given another coat. Getting the glass symetrical the first time was just a pipe dream. I got close, but no cigar this time.

Upon finishing I just had to try some of those round, colorful pieces of gum. Not bad, but they look better than they taste. Can’t really blow bubbles with them, but they sure do look good.


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