Setting Up A Still Life

By: Paul Reed Smithson

Setting Up A Still Life

If you want to be successful at painting a still-life then you need to pay some serious attention to how you set it up first. You need to pay attention to the composition, mood and lighting of the objects that you want to paint. This is why it is important to pay attention to the still life composition by arranging and rearranging the components of the painting until you are satisfied that it is perfect.

A still life is just simply a work of art that depicts inanimate subject matter. Typical food, flowers, plants, rocks, curios glasses, vases, books jewelry, coins and pipes are part of a still life composition but technically any object at all will do. Before the 1700s religious artifacts largely comprised the composition of still lives. They were first seen on the walls of Egyptian tombs.

That is why part of painting a still life is all about choosing objects that have some kind of importance to you. You can even do a portrait of someone by simply depicting their objects. The still life portrait is quite an interesting way of expressing the personality of someone without actually painting them.

Still life lighting is also important. It will figure into how atmospheric or moody your final result will appear on the canvas. Determining whether or not you are using natural or artificial light is also important. This will determine whether or into you are painting short or long shadows in your work. Painting these shadows properly is crucial to achieving realism in painting.

Still lifes can be in any style including realism, impressionism, expressionism and abstract expressionism. Some of the most famous still lifes in history, such as Van Gogh's sunflowers, bordered on being abstractions.

If you don't think you can control the lighting for your still life then you may want to take a picture of a still life and proceed from there. Many artists nowadays use this type of technique so that they can paint from an image where the light source is completely constant.

If you are just starting out as a still-life painter just make sure the still-life arrangement you are painting is very simple. Start out by painting a bowl with a couple of pieces of fruit or a simple plant. Then move on to paint more elaborate still lifes when you become better at mastering still life composition.

The art of painting still lifes has been around since the beginning of the art of painting and the popularity of this type of painting is still going strong today!

About the Author:
Paul Reed Smithson wrote for http://www.learn-and-master-painting-dvds.com, a website that is no longer art related, now written in Japanese.


how to set up a still life



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