Still Lives?

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24″x 24″ “Toy Box” Acrylic on Canvas by Claudia

Last post, Betsy’s work illuminated the benefits of painting still life to isolate a challenging skill, by practicing with still life objects.  Betsy’s work is exceptional, but her intent was simple.

Today, Claudia’s piece takes still life out of the realm of fruit and bottles and brings a conceptual intention to still life painting.  In other words, this painting is about conveying more than the fruits of technical achievement.

What do you think the artist had in mind?

Boring Old Still Life?

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12″x12″ Acrylic on Canvas by Betsy

Why make the effort to paint still life?   To learn.

What might I learn?   To work from life.  To mix color.  To create a composition. To handle reflections. To understand color and mix color intensity.  To vary edges.  To understand values…

 

In this piece, Betsy concentrated on value work.

Betsy innately understands line.  Her line work is fluid and expressive.  The rendering of lights, darks and midtones does not come as easily to her.  Painting still live offered Betsy the opportunity to isolate the value work. To squint her eyes and understand each shade of value and the shapes they made in the bowl, bottle and carrot.  It allowed her practice with the values within each object. In turn, the values help to create an illusion of three-dimensional form.

I think that Betsy’s vibrant color and expression transcends the three common objects she used for this exercise.  What she learned here will carry over to her next piece, whatever she chooses to make.

Understanding how to paint a boring old still life can help you create magic in all of your work.  It can allow you to concentrate on a particular skill while employing those that you have already integrated into your artistic bag of tricks.

OR you can set out to arrange a still life that is anything but expected.  Check back next time…

Still Life, Dynamic Work

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I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “less is more”.  Kate’s still life study of a pumpkin is a great illustration of that expression.  The color is limited, the shapes are simple, and the composition straight forward, but it is fully packed with pumpkiny energy!

Here’s a challenge for you:

Imagine this pumpkin, in this composition, without a stem, or with a stem that isn’t diagonal and is blunt at the top.  How would that simple change effect the way we see this work?