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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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 Craig Shillam

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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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

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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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013-2015 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

Art Marketing – Hunting or Fishing, What is the Difference?

This guest post was authored by Art Collector, Art Supporter and Marketer extraordinaire, Dean Cameron. I think you’ll find it useful…

For starters, EVERYBODY who has something to sell, even art, wants to make the sale. When a sale is made it is exciting and validates you, your art, and what you have to offer.  It may or may not be our sole source of income, and maybe it is just to cover expenses, but everybody wants to complete the sale.

Herein lies the great dilemma.  If I had a dollar for every time I have heard “I am not a salesman” I would not be writing this article.  I would be in some tropical location with my feet up and a suntan. The truth is that we are all salespeople. Now before you get defensive and claim you are not like that guy on the phone who won’t hang up or the person who tried to sell you the vacuum cleaner or used car, let me explain…

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam

Product Review – How to Paint Realistic Oil Paintings Step-by-Step


“Formal Orchids” by Delmus Phelps

Have you ever wanted to paint realistic paintings, but weren’t sure if you could, or even how to go about it? If you are a beginning or intermediate oil painter and you want to learn how to paint realistic paintings that jump off the wall, this just might be what you need to take that next step. I wasn’t looking for anything to buy, but I always want to learn. I stumbled upon what looked like really solid painting  e-book/DVD product on the web. It looked good, had a money back guarantee and I thought it was a bargain, so I got out my credit card…Why wait? Let me tell you more…

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam

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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Make Smarter Paintings By Reading These 15 Quotes About Composition

This article about composition was inspired by this one quote from the late, great Howard Pyle: “After the first hour of work, your lay-in should kill at a hundred yards.”  Whoa! With that sentence in mind, I did a little digging to come up with more excellent quotes and thoughts on composition to help remind us both of it’s importance…

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam

Meet Painter Mary Maxam, You’ll Be Glad You Did

"Blue Boat at Tofino" Mary Maxam, oil, 12'' x 16"

“Blue Boat at Tofino” Mary Maxam, oil, 12” x 16″


I’d like to introduce you to North Idaho painter Mary Maxam. If you know of Mary’s work,  then you know her paintings are full of beautiful, rich color, deliberate brushstrokes and a certain energy that goes beyond the paintings themselves. If  you have never heard of Mary Maxam or seen any of her paintings, I hope you will read on and get to know her  and her work. I think you’ll be glad you did..

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Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Craig Shillam