Learning to set up a still life

My latest adventure in art, at least at class, is a still-life painting.  There is a lot more to creating a still life composition than I really understood before.

Negative spaces are a subject that I don’t think enough about.  This is not just true of still life, but also of all my paintings.   Repetition is helping me remember to consider it.

I took a whole mess of things, because I wasn’t sure what I would need, or how much.  I ended up just using two objects.  They are both ceramics made by my lovely wife.  They ended up set up with an almost guitaresque negative space between them, and a triangular formation between the tall vase and the short inkwell.  Then we added some folded cloth for another triangle and some contrast.  I quite liked it, in the end.  That took about an hour.

Once the still life was set up and taped down, we marked my viewing point and the location of my easel, and I started drawing.  I am doing a “sight-size” drawing, which is a new experience for me.  It involves standing back from the subject and measuring it with a stick or other viewing aid, then turning to your canvas and making a note of where the measurement would be placed.  Then you walk up and mark your measurement.  Rinse, repeat, double-check.  Eventually you (theoretically) have sufficient guide marks to begin drawing the parts of your still life.  In my case, they were largely off, and I had to redo them a few times. 😛  But in the end I had the contour of the large vase done.  Next time around I can start on the smaller piece and the fabric.  Then, I will use carbon transfer paper to move it onto a canvas.

I’m quite enjoying myself.

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