Tips For Setting Up a Still Life to Paint

By: Julie Shoemaker

Tips For Setting Up a Still Life to Paint

When viewing famous artists still life paintings, it looks as if they effortlessly and randomly painted a composition with beauty and grace. The truth is, more than likely a lot of thought went into setting up the still life. Here are a few tips to help in setting up a still life to paint.

1. Study still life paintings of famous artists. Look carefully at the way they set things up, the colors they used, and the items in the painting. Do an Internet search for "still life paintings". You should get ideas from the works of others. Everything you see might not capture your attention, but you will definitely get ideas.

2. Balance items in your painting. When you look at the items you have set up, do your eyes bounce around or is there a center of attention or focal point? Try arranging items so they are tallest just off center and other items cascade downward on either side. Try keeping your still life simple by having just one or two focal points. Balance all other items from these main objects.

3. Color. All paintings tend to catch the attention of the viewer if the colors complement each other. When arranging the still life, consider using objects of complementary colors.

4. Light and Shadow. A plain flat painting seems to come to life when shadows are cast or sunrays appear. Use dramatic light changing schemes to add interest to still lifes. Place items in front of windows or aim a bright light from one direction to create a cast shadow.

5. Shape and texture. Almost always do we find interest in wine and bread still life paintings. Why? Because of the variety and totally different objects. They are different, but yet they go together. Glass is one texture and bread another. Add seeds to the bread and you have created another texture.

6. Create depth. When arranging your still life, you want to create the idea that the objects are not flat. One way to do this is by placing objects in front of or behind one another. The objects are probably on a table as well. Instead of creating a horizontal line to represent the table edge, have the table at a slant. Add and edge and table top as well. Creating a dimensional table and placing objects in front of each other creates depth to an otherwise flat painting.

Creating interesting paintings is sometimes not easily achieved. Time and thought goes into setting the still life up. Balance, color, shape, texture and depth all play an important role in the perfect still life painting.

About the Author:
To see acrylic tips, tricks, lessons and to Learn Painting Techniques visit http://www.iampainting.org/ The best way to begin painting is to follow prescribed instruction and get your feet wet. With a little practice, you will be well on your way to a rewarding hobby of painting.


Composition - Eye Movement and setting up a still life for painting -Alla Prima -Stefan Baumann



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