I admittedly struggled with this still life, maybe a little too much. I spent multiple weeks on it, though a good chunk of that time was spent staring blankly at it wondering why it didn't look right. I was finally able to "let it go," though I still don't know if I'm satisfied with it.
I started with a setup and a line drawing. I remember thinking, "I'll challenge myself and put a mirror under the whole thing. It'll be fun." I must have been sleep-deprived. For the most part, the contour is satisfactory, and I was tempted to leave it there. I did not know what lay ahead.
Progress was being made with shading. The vase was satisfactory to me, but the magnifying glass's distortion presented a challenge.
Trouble came in the form of "not enough contrast." I added a dark sheet of paper behind the yellow flowers to help them stand out more, then proceeded to smear charcoal over the entire sheet of paper in a flat textureless mass. I began to add highlights by grinding up the chalk on sandpaper and then "painting" it onto the page with my fingers, to get a grayer look.
I continued to procrastinate working on the flowers, telling myself that it would be easier to work on them once everything else had been completed. I add in the reflection and fill in the other objects before thinking about the flowers.
The beginnings of flowers appear. Because they're fake, there seems to be less detail on each petal. The flowers begin very softly, and I almost wish they had stayed that way. There is definitely not enough contrast yet at this stage, but the texture and shape of each petal seems more accurate than the final product.
The contrast is exaggerated in the photo due to the lighting, but there was a conscious effort to increase the contrast during the drawing. Detail is added to the rest of the flowers, and highlights are added in an attempt to create sharper edges and to make the flowers stand out more.
The final highlights added to the flowers raise the entire drawing's contrast, but the quality of the line makes them seem hard. I would have liked to keep the original softness of the petals while raising the contrast. Apart from the flowers, I feel that most of the drawing is mostly accurate and well-rendered. I personally love the smoothness of the glue bottle, vase, and the rubber ducky. I think that in the future, I should take edge and line quality more into consideration, and be aware of the contrast as I'm creating the drawing, as opposed right at the end when it's finished.
Overall, though, I'm proud that I was able to create this piece. It's the most complex still life I've ever drawn, and the first that I've done outside of a class and with minimal guidance.