Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Exploring Still Life

I belong to an art group that meet once a month for critiques of our work by visiting artists. Each meeting has a theme that is decided on at the beginning of the year and this month is Still Life. Often I find whatever I'm working on at the time can fit the theme of the meeting but this month I thought I'd use it as a springboard for some experiments.

Back in September I reviewed a book called Vibrant Watercolours by Shirley Trevena. On the left is a sketchbook page inspired by the ideas I read about in this book. I thought I would continue developing the ideas for one of my art group pieces.

I started by laying very loose watercolour washes onto a piece of mountboard, just basic divisions of space, letting the paint pool and puddle. Whilst the paint was wet I scraped colour pencil pigment into a couple of areas for some subtle mottled colour. I'm going to enjoy using my favourite colours of turquoise and lime green with just a dash of spicy orange in this one, simply because they're not a combination I get to use that often.

Once this was dry I drew out a rough plan and started to paint in the main shapes, switching between watercolour, acrylic and watercolour pencil. Some of the lines are extended out from the object to make more interesting negative shapes and objects meld into one another so that it's not clear when one starts and another begins.
I made a couple of errors and the large circle was too dark and far too dominant. As it is mountboard that I'm painting on (which is made up of lots of layers sandwiched together) I carefully cut away a layer to expose clear board underneath. The inbetween layers of mountboard have a furry texture that ball up when it gets wet (lovely in collographs) and makes me think I should exploit texture more. 

Vivien at Painting, Prints & Stuff is working on still life in a non traditional way. She's doing some very interesting things using coloured pencil then manipulating the drawing digitally and making a series of work.


WILLIE........! said...

Well, l always, speak as l find, cards on the table, And, l don't tell lies....Speak the truth, up front....Don't know where i'm go'in with this...Lost the plot.
Oh! Yes.....Not been keen on still life, if it's still, l tend to eat it. :)
But, no, once again, like the recent 'Blue' l'm converted.....Not the usual 'Still Life' l expected....Yes, I LIKE IT....!
And, yes Lisa, l do have two eyes....Where they are....God knows.....! And, there not Blue...or Pink, (shame). :0)

vivien said...

looking good :>) (and thanks for the mention)

the ones I manipulated were actually watercolour and mixed media and the coloured pencil was a development from the manipulation - I work back and forth sometimes.

It's funny because still life isn't my 'thing' like Willie above - but I'm enjoying playing with the non-traditional approach

I too like Shirley Trevena and other artists like Ethel Walker and the list on the blog who work in adventurous ways, exploring possibilities.

These could look good alongside the seascapes.

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Thank you Willie, I did go to a drawing class many years ago where on the first day a still life was set up of bread, wine and cheese. After an hour of drawing we discussed the work and then ate and drank the subject. An unusual way to start but it broke the ice.

Vivien the list of artists you posted are so interesting, I've been working my way through. I'm looking at things in new ways now, looking for patterns, textures and ways of repeating shape and colour. It's all very exciting..