A Floral Still Life Painting with an Old Vase

Still life painting is fun. There, I said it. Gathering the elements of the painting, setting it up, getting the light just right and then finally getting the paint out. It’s all fun. For this particular still life painting, I found something else to have fun with: Going to a thrift store and looking for an old flower vase…

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A New Oil Painting of an Old Football

"The Rock" Craig Shillam oil/canvas, 12" x 16"

“The Rock” Craig Shillam oil/canvas, 12″ x 16″


What would be a good way to portray an old, weathered, beat-up football in an oil painting?  I don’t know about you, but I thought a straight forward, no-nonsense approach would be best. Before getting into the painting, let me tell you about the football…


A New Oil Painting of an Old Football


 The Football – I purchased this football around 1970 when I was about 10 years old with my own money through a mail order ad. The ball arrived in a white, beat-up, square box. This is the football my brother and I played with out in our yard for years. He went on to be an all-state high school  football player and received a four year football scholarship to the University of Montana. He got the trophies, I got the ball. This is the same ball that we used when my cousins, uncles and school friends all came over to our house. This would also be the first football my son and I threw around, however he is just not into the nostalgia of this ball, so we have newer ones. This football has been in my possession for so long and has so many of my friends and family members DNA on it, why not make it the star of an oil painting?



My Childhood Football complete with simulated Roman Gabriel Autograph- CashArtBlog

My Childhood Football complete with simulated Roman Gabriel Autograph- CashArtBlog



The Oil Painting – After “kicking” it around for a bit, it seemed to me that a painting of this old ball should be straight forward with no frills attached. An oil painting of just any old football is not something I would normally be interested in. A football has that shape that I just don’t find that interesting, unless I’m playing football. I felt showing the laces was critical, and the white stripes were important as well.

6 Notes about this Oil Painting

  1.  The football was set out on some sod and positioned over and over again to get a satisfactory “pose”.
  2. Showing grass and dirt in the painting was a must from the start. No still life oil painting of an old football sitting on the shelf for me.  The sod just seemed like a more fitting environment than a table like the one in the oil painting of My Grade School Lunchbox, another sports painting.
  3. While not the most dynamic composition an artist has ever conceived, the intent was to be bold and hit the viewer with the ball without any hesitation.
  4. There would be no “rooting” for a particular football team or university in the form of colors or logos. This oil painting is about the sport and kids playing ball in the back yard, not about the big business of football.
  5. The touch of red on the nose of the ball is intentional for color and to symbolize blood. Hey, it’s a tuff game, things happen.
  6. While there is lettering still on the ball, I did not think adding a lot of lettering or stitching into the painting added to the piece.

The Extra Point: I have done other sport themed paintings, such as “Still Life Painting with a Baseball Theme“, and I enjoy them, however from a business point of view, they do not seem to be as popular as a traditional landscape paintings. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because sports are seasonal, but landscapes are always in season. Just a guess.


Now that this oil painting of the ol’ football is done, I think it’s probably time to moisten that leather up a bit and retire it. Time to also start a new painting.


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Great Subject Matter for an Oil Painting – An Apple Orchard

The subject matter for an oil painting is everywhere, even in an apple orchard. When there are grand mountains, beautiful lakes and wide rivers all around me, why take time to paint an oil painting of an apple tree or orchard? Well, since you asked…

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Still Life Painting with Pansies


"Still Life with Pansies", Craig Shillam, 12" x 16", oil/canvas

Still Life with Pansies”, Craig Shillam, 12″ x 16″, oil/canvas


If you would have asked me three years ago if I would ever paint a still life painting with pansies as the subject matter, I would have told you that you have been inhaling way to many paint fumes. Thanks for not asking me back then. But the real catalyst for this particular still life painting was not flowers. The reason for this painting is none other than my mother. It was her birthday, and I had not made or painted anything for her in a long, long time. It was time to change that, and she likes pansies.

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Another Still Life Painting, Another Gumball Machine


Sometimes you just can’t get enough, even when it comes to still life painting. Having recently completed still life painting of an old gumball machine, I decided to paint another. I admit to having a certain affection for these older machines. They are fun, interesting, and embody a certain amount of Americana. This new still life painting is to be a compliment to and part of a set with the previous yellow gumball machine painting…

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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.

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Still Life Painting with Fresh Peppers

still life painting

“Still Life with Peppers” Craig Shillam, 11″ x 14″, oil/canvas

One of the best parts about “still life painting with fresh peppers” was actually going to a local market and examining all the possibilities in the produce department. When it came down to setting up the actual still life, the peppers were really cooperative models in the process. This painting had a particular purpose, and that purpose was to be part of an auction for the local art association…

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A Landscape Painting of The Lone Cypress

landscape painting

“The Lone Cypress”, Craig Shillam, Oil/Canvas, 12″ x 16″

A Landscape Painting Featuring The Lone Cypress

Why paint a landscape painting of The Lone Cypress? After all it is probably the most photographed tree in the world, and almost everybody has seen it before.  So why do it then? I painted this particular subject for three reasons…

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Still Life Painting Featuring a Vintage Gumball Machine

Still Life Painting with Vintage Gumball Machine, Craig Shillam

“Gumball Machine” Craig Shillam, 14″ x 11″, oil

Still Life Painting with a Vintage Gumball Machine

Having just painted a still life painting of a gumball machine and having a lot fun doing it, I thought I would write a post about it. Imagine that… I recently had the opportunity to  participate in a fundraising auction for the local museum in the town where I live. It was a great night, and very successful for the most part, I think. For this small still life painting, I was able to borrow the vintage gumball machine from the lady who cuts my hair. She has had the machine for a very long time. Every time she cuts my hair cut I look at that thing and want to do something with it. I actually want it for my house to tell you the truth. So I finally asked her if I could borrow it so I could do a painting of it. She said yes. The original plan was to (and probably still will) paint this still life painting much larger than the 11″ x 14″ shown here.  But this auction was coming up and I felt like it would be a good subject matter for the event. The painting was started in my home studio, and then finished as part of a quick draw/quick finish before the auction. Some artists do the whole thing right there, some, like me, finish what they have started at the event. I prefer to finish at the event because there is always people mingling around, or I see somebody I know, and I want to visit. To me, this time as a good time to meet and greet more than paint like a madman because the painting need to be done before the auction starts. That’s just me, others feel differently. The still life painting I did at the last auction I paricipated in turned out pretty well I thought, and I did a lot more painting on it at the event than on the “gumball machine”. Fortunately this painting was bought, as my other auction entry did not sell this time. I didn’t think it was the right crowd for a painting like that, but oh well. One thing I have noticed is that my still life paintings sell a little better than my landscape paintings at auctions. Still thinking about that, not enough study samples to verify!

Still Life Painting with a Gumball Machine

As for the painting itself, I took a somewhat looser approach, because I wanted to put some “feeling” into the man-made machine. This still life painting did not take very long, and I view it as a warm up for a larger piece down the road. I felt the two key parts of the painting were to ge the red body of the machine right and the glass right. I guess it was kind of important to make the gumballs look round and clean also… nobody wants to look at dirty, unappetizing gumballs.

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Craig Shillam

A Landscape Painting Inspired by Carmel

If you are like me you love a landscape painting with lots of wonderous, beautiful light. This painting doesn’t have that. You, like myself probably also love a landscape painting with lots of marvelous color. This painting has a limited palette. I bet you also like to see the sun when you go to the ocean, just like I do. After wanting to check out Carmel-by-the-Sea, Ca., for a long time, I finally made it. The sun did not cooperate…

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Craig Shillam