Sweet Tooth is all about texture and light, all of which are key components of traditional still life realism. Notice how the glass shines and the shelf reflects. You can almost taste the puff of the donuts and the crumble of the cookies.
To achieve these effects, I use classic still life techniques--the same as those practiced by the Dutch Masters over 400 years ago--including painting the background with many thin layers to build up depth in color and shading. These methods yield rich visuals regardless of subject matter, even for plastic teeth and lollipops!
There is a candy store near my studio that I like to wander around for inspiration. It has shelves and bins of bulk candies and always whets my imagination (and by imagination, I mean appetite). I selected these candies because of their textures and bright colors. The jawbreakers (called “gobstoppers” by us Brits) looked particularly inviting.
Once I saw all the candy, I knew I would be adding the plastic teeth to round out the composition - fortunately I have several pair in the studio for just such an occasion!