Choosing a background to set the mood for your still life painting

Single Rose in a Glass

I’ve been looking at the work of different painters I admire (Manet, some contemporaries and Emil Carlsen in particular) to understand not only how they achieve realism, but also a sense of harmony or quietude in their work. I notice Carlsen often repeated colors taken from his subject, but changed the temperature or texture to move them back and to bring the subjects forward. I made this little study with his technique in mind. Originally, I used a very warm orange/brown underpainting, some of which still peeks through to keep the greens from going dead. This is an oil painting on panel and measures 9×12.

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