This sort of internal scene in a shop has a fascination for me. The shapes, the colours, the subject matter, the varied age of the items – these are just a few of the reasons they appeal to me. But I like this in particular because the shapes make some nice patterns together. There is a good balance of variation of shapes: round, square, rectangular, oblong and more elaborate curves on the porcelains.

I made a detailed drawing of the scene first. This took about an hour to complete. I did leave a couple of objects out that were in the foreground, that did not really add to the composition.

When I was satisfied with the drawing I started mixing a large range of brown colours. One of my set goals in this painting was to see how many shades of brown I could achieve, and there are so many you can make with varying mixtures of colours. The colour brown is one of my favourites, warm and natural, can look very red or very dark and moody. A great colour to work with.

For practicality, I started from the back of the painting. I worked in layers, five or six on most of the items, and worked from light to dark.

I waited between the layers drying: I wanted to get all the brown colours completed first. When 100% dry, I painted in the clock surrounds, yellow ochre and used pen to mark in the hands on the clocks in the background. For the large clock in the foreground I used titanium white acrylic to paint in the numbers on the face.

For the porcelain items I used a very very weak wash of blue. I used a light purple for the plates and a cerulean blue for the flat dish.

This was great fun to paint and draw. A busy scene will give you lots of opportunities to practice drawing shapes and mixing up your own palette.