Still Life Painting with Fresh Peppers and Cup

Still Life Painting

Still Life Painting with Fresh Peppers and Cup” Craig Shillam oil/canvas, 9″ x 12″

The great thing about using fresh fruit or vegetables in a still life painting is that the colors, shapes, sizes and textures are almost endless. Picking the subject matter, arranging, and then painting is so much fun, I feel guilty some times.

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9 Small Adjustments for Better Oil Painting Results

9 Small Adjustments for Better Oil Painting Results - CashArtBlog

9 Small Adjustments for Better Oil Painting Results – CashArtBlog

Sometimes it just takes a small adjustment or two to improve your oil painting and not a complete overhaul. I am certainly not the only one who looks back on paintings from years past and says “If I had handled that part differently or this part over here another way, the entire painting would have been a lot better.”

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Craig Shillam

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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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014-2015 Craig Shillam

The New Most Expensive Painting by an American is…


A new record dollar amount for an American painting was realized on December 4, 2013. The gavel came down at $46 million dollars  during Sotheby’s American Art auction in New York for Norman Rockwell’s “Saying Grace.” The price does include a buyer’s premium, and the painting was completed in 1951. The previous record for a Rockwell painting was reported by the AP to be $15 million for “Breaking Home Ties”, which was sold at auction in 2006.

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What’s the Deal with All the Gold Picture Frames?


What's the Deal with all the Gold Picture Frames?

What’s the Deal with all the Gold Picture Frames?

Am I the only one that is sick and bored to tears with beautiful paintings framed with gold picture frames? What the hell? Yeah framing can be expensive, and when an artist is turning out paintings on a regular basis the cost adds up. I am right there with you. I get it.  I know I live all the way up here in the Northwest and not in the big city…But what’s the deal? A lot of galleries I have been to lately have way to many gawdy gold picture frames. Instead of promoting the painting, they are just a big ugly distraction in most cases. It doesn’t seem to matter what the painting is either; warm, cool, big, small, landscape, still life, modern, traditional, professional, student, abstract. Did the Old Masters send out a memo, or did I miss the gold frame garage sale of the century? What’s the deal?


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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam

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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Patriotic Art & The Protester…Happy 4th of July


Remembrance of 9-11, Leoma Lovegrove, On Display at the Southwest Florida International Airport

Remembrance of 9-11, Leoma Lovegrove, On Display at the Southwest Florida International Airport



Do patriotic art and the protester have anything in common? Yes indeed. That doesn’t mean they are friends however. A patriot can be a protester, a protester can be a patriot, and they can both be woefully uninformed. An artist can be all of these just like anybody else. I just wanted to celebrate the fourth of July with you by presenting some patriotic art and  some protest art because they are both interesting and both have their place…

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Check Out This Video on Pricing Your Art

I watched this video about selling art entitled “Pricing Your Artwork to Sell” by Jason Horejs and Barney Davey and thought I would share it here. Mr. Horejs is the owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mr. Davey is the publishers of



If the video window is not showing, here is the link:


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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam

If You’re In A Rut, Start Drawing

Market Man - Sketchbook Drawing, pencil, 2013

Market Man – Sketchbook Drawing, Craig Shillam, pencil, 2013


Drawing can be the cure when the chaos of life comes knocking at your door. You know what I’m talking about. Those times when life happens to you while you’re busy making your own to do list. Good intentions can morph into lost causes if you’re not paying attention. I don’t know about you, but getting back to drawing for just my own personal pleasure and/or practice is good mojo for me…

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam

Maximize Each Piece of Art You Create

Are you getting the most from that new piece of art you just created? After all, you’ve prepared, thought, created and completed something that is unique to you.  What now? A gallery, website, or what? Whatever it is, don’t just let that new piece of art sit there, make the most of it. When you are ready, let that piece of art go to work for you not only know, but into the future too.  Below are several ways that can help you maximize your art so it can be seen and sold…

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam