Step 1

The Eucalypt leaves and blossoms were collected early in the morning. The flowers have a limited lifespan and have to be blocked in and then finished quickly. There is an echo of the colour of the blossoms and the flowers on the teapot.

Step 2

The background can then be painted in a more leisurely pace. Though the flowers are in a continual state of flux, the buds continue to pop their tops and open as the mature blossoms shrivel up and fall apart.

Step 3

The base of the vase is added and the background worked in around the leaves.

Normally the background would be put on first, then the leaves over the top.

In this case the paint is wiped off to form the leaves and this is easier to do on a white background.

This technique is used because the leaves and flowers have to be established with speed.

Step 4

The folds in the blue drapery are painted by a wipe-off method using a soft cloth.

This has to be completed and dry before the glass and water can be painted over the top.

Note the darker blue behind where the water will be.

Step 5 - Finished

The darkest blue background makes the foreground stand out.

The flowers on the blue drapery echo the colour of the other flowers.

A whisper of paint establishes the glass.

This painting won the Still Life section of the 2012 Royal Brisbane Show.

The judges comments were as follows: “This picture uses a very strong tradition of still life painting representing (for example) life and death. The painting is also executed in a very strong representational format but the upright (portrait) concept is individual.”