Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Painting the Still Life

I have recently begun painting still lifes again. I had forgotten how wonderful they are to paint. They don't need a break as a model does, The light doesn't change when using a spot light, and If you are one to spend lots of time on a painting, you don't have to pay them an hourly fee. One caution though, just because you can take a long time to paint a still life does not mean it would be the best option. There is such a thing as over working a painting. You have to know when to stop, when enough is enough. I found that as long as I can stay focused on my original idea I'm ok to continue, but after a few hours when I begin to lose focus, I know I'm approaching that time to stop, start a new painting or call it a day. It is a good idea to take breaks though even when your subjects do not need one. Just as if you were painting a model and needed to give them a break, You need a break too. Set a timer and when it goes off, stop what your doing, step back and maybe even leave the room. At times I've found myself staring at my painting close up, As if it would magically fix itself. I'd forget to take a break and step back. You want to be able to look at your painting with fresh eyes. Sometimes it's more beneficial to just put your brushes down, squint down and look at your subject (not your painting) and study it. What values are you seeing, what kind of edges are you seeing, What shapes are you seeing? Then look at your painting and see if you are capturing all that you see when you look up at your subject. I know its hard and exhausting to stay so focused, but as you begin to train yourself you will be able to stay focused for longer amounts of time. In the end its all worth it.

1 comment:

Nancy Albrecht said...

What a propitious time of the year to be thinking about "still life" --- your insights are thoughtful and thought-provoking. You do have a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing it.