"Milkman's Here!" Hearing the milkman making his rounds early in the morning as a kid was always reassuring. It guaranteed that the day was starting off right. I think I liked him more during my summer vacation because when I heard him I knew that I still had plenty of time to sleep in...

The old tablecloth with its fruit and leave pattern helps create an early morning breakfast table.

Part of the inspiration for this painting comes from this old magazine ad for a chocolate drink. The illustrator really captured a great moment in American tradition.

I purchased a scale model of the milk truck and designed my own 'logo' and name for the dairy. I'll use this photo to help me pose my model, which will be a milkman, carrying the four quarts of milk and the pint of cream to one of his stops.

I made labels and matching bottle caps for all the bottles. I also refurbished an old metal carrier and made a red handle to top it off.

On the right side of the painting is the cup of coffee that has just received the cream from the creamer which got its cream from the pint bottle, which came from the milkman. I know you already figured that out, but I try to make sense out of all my props. If it doesn't help tell the story, then I don't want it in the painting.

Yours truly has posed as the milkman. I'm taking orders from 'Carol the Camerawoman' at this point...

Here's what my easel setup looks like.

I've begun the painting by blocking in the background with thinned down oil. I've tried to be true to the artist that illustrated the vitamin ad.

I've blocked in the bottles on the left, making sure that I take in consideration the color on the wall behind them.

As with the bottles on the left, the cream bottle has the illustration on the wall behind it and it needs to show that image through the glass of the bottle.

Here's what it looks like so far...

Here's the creamer. Notice how the image in the background shows through the glass, although there was no way to actually put the creamer in front of the background at the size needed.

The jadite cup and saucer is blocked in. I have always loved the way jadite glass looks in sunlight.

The milkman and his truck are now in place.

The initial colors have been put into the tablecloth. Now that I look at the entire painting completely blocked in, I can see that I will have to make some pretty heavy handed adjustments.

The entire background is finished. Although it is tough to see the difference in the two photos above (I make no claims to being a professional photographer), I have darkened the background about 20%.

I've finished the tablecloth, softening its color and warming its overall tone.

The creamer is finished. It will have a little more 'pop' around its base when I darken the cast shadows.

Here's a close-up of the milk bottles as I begin working on them. Notice the shadows that are cast from the red painted labels. They land on the milk which is a 'milk bottle thickness' away. This helps give dimension to the bottles.

I've finished the bottles but will have to wait for them to dry to paint the wire carrier. If I paint the metal basket it will smear the paint on the bottles.

The cream bottle is also finished.

I completed the milk truck today. My list is getting shorter. Just need to paint the milkman, the coffee cup, the milk bottle carrier and all the cast shadows.

Cup and saucer is completed. Now off to the milk bottle carrier...

I sometimes wonder how many more years I have left of a steady hand. Doing those long narrow strokes on the metal wire really takes all my concentration.

Mr. Milkman is ready for action!

Here's a detail of the right corner, all finished!

And here is the completed painting! This is probably the brightest image I have painted to date. It has a very fresh light feeling to it. I love it!

"Milkman's Here!"