"My cup of Tea" - Painting a still-life with MUSSINI® - finest artists´ resin-oil-colours

In this tutorial Elena Romanzin shows us how she painted this small still-life of some of her family keepsakes using MUSSINI® finest artists´ resin-oil-colour. The painting is called "My Cup of Tea". It is an English expression to say that something really belongs to you, because painting became her passion starting her painting studies in 1990.


  • a 20x20 cm linen canvas
  • Schmincke Oil primer/ Underpainting white 50517 with a small amount of MUSSINI® Burnt Siena 661
  • MUSSINI® colours: Manganese violet 472, Manganese Cerulean blue 487, Indigo 478, Transparent Magenta363, Transparent Orange 239, Cadmium yellow light 227,Titanium opaque white 103
  • Schmincke Medium L 50042
  • Schmincke purified linseed oil 50015
  • flat, round and synthetic paint brushes of various small sizes
  • a piece of willow charcoal, sketch paper
  • tear-off palette, rags, paper towel
  • Maulstick

Step 1

First of all, I begin preparing the setting for my painting, choosing some objects that have a meaning to me. I want the painting to have some contrast between warm and cool colours so, in addition to the natural light source coming froma window, I add a warm light source on the left. I draw a simple sketch on drawing paper, including the direction of the shadows.


Step 2

I prepare my canvas with a thin layer of oil primer mixed with MUSSINI® Burnt Siena, which dries quickly, to tone the canvas. Although ready canvases are already primed and can be used directly to paint on, I find that an oil primer gives a better surface to work on with oil paints. I allow it four days to dry. I do not paint directly on untreated linen, as this will affect the longevity of the painting.

Step 3

I turn the drawing around and rub the paper surface with a piece of willow charcoal. Then, I carefully shake the paper to allow any residues to fall off.

Step 4

After placing the drawing in the desired position on my canvas, I trace the outlines and main lines with a pencil. Then I remove the drawing and wipe the loose charcoal particles off the canvas with a brush. The result is a discreet sketch of the scene.

Step 5

My choice for the colour palette for this painting takes into consideration mainly two aspects: using colours in the MUSSINI® series that have all the same drying time and selecting some transparent colours that will allow glazing later. The drying time scala (DTS) of the different MUSSINI® colours is available in the new 2021 MUSSINI® brochure. I make sure to try first on the palette the colour combinations, to avoid undesired mixtures resulting on the canvas. The firstthing I paint is the background, starting with warmer colours on the left and ending with colder colours on the right, with very subtle colour variations. The layers are applied very thinly, using very little Medium L added to the colour.

Drying Time Scale (DTS)

The drying time scale indicates when a paint layer of 30 ?m (or comparatively a thin brushstroke) of a colouron canvas has dried at room temperature (23° C/ 73° F). With this layer thickness, it can be assumed that the colour layer has dried through both on the surface and in the layer. Please note that the thicker a paint application, the longer the drying times.
Please note: The information on the various dryingtimes via the drying time scale can only be found in the MUSSINI® brochure. This information is not shown on the label.

Step 6

The inner part of the jug is painted first, with very smallpaint-strokes. I generally use a maulstick to be able to get very close to the canvas without touching the wet paint.



Step 7

I paint the metallic part of the jug applying first the colours in a flat manner, with larger strokes in the right position. Then, I use a soft brush to blend them lightly together and achieve softer edges. I reapply colour in certain areas and blend again until I am satisfied with the appearance.

Step 8

For the label of the tea bag, I use Cadmium yellow light and Manganese Cerulean for the base light green and add Indigo to obtain a darker green. I sign my name on the label, using a very small brush.

Step 9

In a next step, I paint the table. Here I want to enhance how combining natural and artificial light sources results in very interesting shadows, so I will use colder colours for th eshadows cast at the right of the objects and warm colours for the shadows on the left.

Step 10

Once the table is finished, with all shadows in place, I paint the spoon and paper wrapping, using the same colou rcombinations I have previously used for painting the tea bagand the jug. At this point, the first layer is complete, and I will allow it 5 days to dry.

Step 11

After the painting has been dried, I start glazing. I will use Indigo very sparingly because it is not transparent, mixed with the glazing colours I selected, only to intensify the very dark blue-black details like the inner part of the jug, and the shadow on the handle. For the rest of the details, I will use mainly combinations of two glazing colours (Transparent Magenta and Transparent Orange) mixed with Manganese violet which is semi-opaque. To obtain more transparency, I add linseed oil sparingly only into this last layer.

Step 12

I adjust the final details and will allow the painting to dry several months before I varnish it.