Creams and Whites

Warm and cold light tones

In this case paint a soft muted ground on your canvas or panel.  Naples Yellow with either a tiny bit of Raw Umber or some purple would work, add some white if it is gets too dark.

Keep the ground layer quite thin by adding turps and rub the canvas with a rag when it is applied.

Getting the proportions and shapes of a jug or mug can be quite hard, particularly handles and spouts. Draw the still life out in pencil, charcoal or pastel, if the latter you can fix it with hairspray or fixative and leave that to dry before starting to paint.  (This can be down before or after the ground is applied).

During this time you can really analyse your still life.  Light changes all the time but if you have managed to get a fixed light source you will be able to see that there are softer and harder edged shadows.  Also have a look at the colours of the tones, no matter how subtle, some will be warm and some will be cooler.

For the warmer colours Yellow Ochre can be muted with a touch of purple and varying degrees of white. A touch of Cadmium Red will warm it up more.  Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna can be muted with French Ultramarine blue and Titanium White.

For cooler colours add more blue to the mixes and include some Yellow Ochre or Naples Yellow for any green tones you see.

Keep your brush stokes obvious and blend by mixing colours that are halfway between one colour and the next with another decisive brushstroke, not by rubbing at it or moving the paint around the canvas with the brush.

Dark colours are made by mixing browns and blues, browns and Payne's Grey or browns with blue and a bit of purple.

Georgio Morandi - Still Life with a Bottle c1951

If you want your soft coloured painting to pack more of a punch at the end add a bright background of Cerulean or Lime Green.

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