One of my absolute favorite oil painting books in my studio is California painter Dan McCaw's A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art. (Unfortunately, it appears to be out of print but you can still find it used.)
You can also see more of Dan McCaw's work on his website. I love McCaw's brushwork, value patterns, and unusual color keys. His abstract figures are fantastic and to me, he makes "creating great art" look easy. And while I know that's not always true in daily practice, it's inspiring and motivating to think so.
In his book, McCaw says he often paints abstracted still lifes like this purely from imagination.
While painting this "imagined" still life of apples and cherries (an exercise taken from his book) was highly enjoyable to paint, I quickly discovered balancing the powerful reds with the right accents while maintaining interesting shape variety was much more challenging than I thought it would be. All the more reason to keep on painting...
For more information about my Denver oil painting classes, please email me at ScarletOwl@hotmail.com.