Notes for a Still Life Workshop
Setting up a Still Life.1. Put objects together that might normally be seen together (or not)
2. Keep it balanced
a. Remember that cast shadows and color intensity are part of the balancing act.
b. Use a variety of objects (large, small, short, tall etc)
c. Think about what colors might look good together. Opposites in the color wheel are an easy and sure bet. Opposites work well to form a uniform composition, for example, orange may be used to grey your blue objects when you want to create a shadow side and blue may be used to create shadow on orange.
1. Begin with a viewfinder or create one with your hands.
a. Lightly sketch abstract shapes and lines. Use a little paint and lots of turp as you should expect to erase as you refine your composition. (Using a clean brush and turp)
2. Give a little thought to your focal point.
a. Decide what to leave in, move around or take out.
b. Avoid putting your focal point in the middle.
a. A focal point is a place where one or more of the following elements exist: 1. The most detailed or interesting object. 2. The lightest light next to the darkest dark 3. Side by side opposites. ( blue/orange red/green violet/yellow)
c. Allow objects to leave the painting area in at least 3 places. Make good use of the painting surface. (Don’t put all the stuff in the middle of your canvas with nothing on the edges)
Your beginning idea in abstract form may look something like this.
Firm up The Drawing
1. Make sure containers are symmetrical
2. Check the ellipse on containers. Top ellipse should be similar to bottom
3. Pay special attention to your focal point. Draw it really well.
4. No need to draw each pedal on flowers. Leave that area vacant.
Add Color1. Block in all local colors first (the main color you see when you look at the object. This is usually a medium value and painted as a solid mass like if you were coloring in a coloring book. The only thing not painted solidly are groupings of flowers and leaves. Lay those in transparently with soft edges. Firm them up in the last stage.
2. Add darks, then lights and then highlights (in this order) You have already painted in the medium values in the block in stage and they may or may not need further work. You may have to repaint the medium values when you are trying to create a transition area between the dark/meium or light/medium.
a. Ask yourself “ Where is the lightest light and darkest dark. Compare all other values to them.
b. Squint a lot when comparing but keep your eyes open when applying paint.
c. Use the biggest brush you can for the size of object you are painting.
d. Make your brush strokes interesting, going up, down across, diagonal using the sides of the brush rather then the point unless working on detailed areas.
3. Pay attention to where edges disappear (where one dark value meets another or medium value meets medium or light meets light.)
Applying thick paint is the last stage to be
used in the lightest areas only. Brush is
almost flat and parallel to the surface of the canvas