Vintage Feather Pillow No.3 "Cat Sleeping... Do NOT Disturb" Update on oil painting: SOLD

(click on photo to supersize)

Update 11/26/2006: Painting is completed.

It's always a challenge to get colors "just right" and these pillows are well worn; some are quite dingy, faded and stained. In addition, all the layers of glazes and other techniques have to work well to achieve an authentic aged appearance. (feel free to email with any questions / view the progression up to this point in November 17 post)

I portray them as they are in real life..... much loved. Charlie seems to love them too.
Carolyn Hietala


Oil painting of my cat Charlie sleeping on those vintage feather down pillows. Counting sheep again! At least he's not stealing paint brushes.

This is No.3 Vintage Feather Pillow..... still in the process of completion but nearly done. It will be available for purchase in a few days. I began with a turpentine/oil wash in Ultramarine Blue to sketch the pillows and place the cat. With sporatic spot tracing on the cat I established in key areas the direction of the hairs. This is my Charlie and I want it perfect! Of course I have to paint all those little hairs on...... and not to mention those pillow stripes.

Since this is being painted in layers where each one must dry before another is applied.....I work on other paintings in the interim. Glazing with thin washes allows the texture of the canvas to reveal an extremely realistic cloth pattern on the pillows. Now I will paint Charlie while the pillows dry in preparation for their next layer and post an update soon.

This is on a 5"x7" canvas panel. You can see a photograph of Charlie on my Lifeoncanvas Blog. Carolyn Hietala


Painting Daily Oil Sketch #1... Shawnee Pottery Shakers (click here for purchase information)

Available in gallery at
McCool's Of Bon Air - Richmond, Virginia
I will probably do a little more touchup in a few areas and refreshing of the highlights before I post this finished painting. But for now I will set it aside and begin another little painting. I will be using these Salt and Pepper Shakers in a larger painting so this was a good exercise. I have really enjoyed this little painting.
Carolyn Hietala


Painting Daily Oil Sketch #1 ... Shawnee Salt & Pepper Shakers ... I will discuss the oil paint colors I am using in this work still in progress.

I still have more detail, color adjustments and highlight work to be done before this painting is completed but would like to share with you the colors I have used thus far. The photograph had to be taken using artificial lighting, therefore the glare, but the colors are very close to the original. The paint is still wet.

Titanium white, burnt umber, burnt sienna, brown madder, ultramarine violet, ultramarine blue, payne's gray, cadmium-barium green deep, chrome titanate yellow. All are Grumbacher Pre-Tested oils.

Carolyn Hietala


Shawnee Salt & Pepper ... Painting viewed on easel with pottery shakers still life setup. "Sailor Boy" and "Little Bo Peep" immortalized in oils.

Shakers are shown in the art studio with the easel setup.

The lighting and angle is different than in the actual painting...... and you can't see that they are missing their cork stoppers. As a child I actually played with these as a special treat whenever I was ill in bed so they never "made it as shakers" but admired on the what-not shelf.

Isn't it wonderful to take the ordinary and elevate it to portrait status? After all these are heirloom treasures though tattered with age.

Carolyn Hietala


Update on Painting Daily Oil Sketch #1 ... Shawnee Shakers ... work in progress ... toning down background underpainting

Session Four.

Before proceeding further I felt the need to tone down and begin establishing my lighting in the background using a flat stiff bristle brush. I have yet to determine what the final color will be to best support my subjects.
Carolyn Hietala


Painting Daily Oil Sketch #1 ... Shawnee Shakers ... Session Three ... Paint brushes used

While I continue this work in progress.....
a brief word about the paint brushes I am using.

From front to back:
1) 5 Windsor & Newton - Sceptre Gold - 101 - sable/synthetic blend
2) 4 Americanpainter - 4500 - filbert - (Loew-Cornell)
3) 2 Americanpainter - 4500 - filbert - (Loew-Cornell)
4) 0 Loew-Cornell - 7650c - spotter
5) 10/0 Loew-Cornell - 7120 - rake

Most of the painting is done with the Windsor & Newton. Detail and some blending with the rest. I do not purchase expensive brushes for my oils but for qouache.... well that's a different story.
Carolyn Hietala


Painting Daily Oil Sketch #1 ... Second Session ... Shawnee Pottery Shakers

Began painting sailor boy and worked a little more on girl.

Would have loved to have come closer to completion today but my dog Maggie needed to visit the vet so I missed the bright morning light. Ceramic objects have such depth of color and refraction of light due to their high gloss translucent glazes. A challenge to paint and natural daylight certainly brings out their beauty.

Carolyn Hietala


Painting Daily Oil Sketch # 1 ... Shawnee Salt & Pepper Shakers

First painting session.
5"x5" MDF panel.
A color study for a larger painting.
Carolyn Hietala