Assignment 1: Still Life Research

I began this assignment by taking a look at some contemporary still life’s to see what others had done with the subject. I decided to look at Saatchi on line web site as it provides a data base of current artist working in a broad medium spectrum. I typed both ‘Still Life’ then, ‘still life drawing’ into the search bar to see what came up. I saved the images of interest to create a mood board. This include paintings, drawings, collage and photograph.

The one that stands out the most for me is an oil painting by George Barecca. I am unsure if he has used oil pastils or paint. The work ha a very soft look to it that suggest it may be pastil. It really could be either.

The painting depicts a shelf suspended against a wall. It occupies the centre and the  right had side of the painting. The left had side is bare wall. on the shelf sits three bottles, a book, a nail brush, a rectangular box, what might be a can and two small objects that have just been suggested at with a couple of strokes.

The bottles are one red, one green and one yellow. The two later ones are recognisable as washing up liquid. They stand out against a light blue, grey wall that  occupies the vast negative space. the shelf is also blue, as is the box. The nail fill is bright white. The book has white tones as well as the darkest tones in the painting.

The artist gives grate precedence to the shadow forms. These lay on the wall under the shelf. the value lightens as they speed away from there source.

Some of the objects through interesting shadow shapes up behind them. The right hand top conner is in the shadows. This suggests a direct light source. The painting is entirely made up of light and shadow contrast. The artist has not fafed about with details. The yellow bottle seems to glow as the light shines through its transparent structure.

This painting to me highlights the fact there is beauty and wonder to be found in the simplest arrangements. By chance the light falling on a randomly grouped bunch of mundane objects has inspired some one to capture the colours and forms on canvas.

I imagine the painter must have looked at the light fall on that shelf over his breakfast and thought, I’m going to paint you.

I see a touch of Vermeer in the handling of light and dark and the painting style.

A sensitive observation. I find the painting to have a calm feeling. Probably because of the blue tones and the softness of the strokes. There is a little tint of rosa in some areas that warms the blues and picks up the red/browns of the bottle and can.

On the shelf the objects sit in a row giving a linear composition. Despite this the artist has chosen to give the shelf and objects lots of room around them. This allows the shadow forms to go uncropped and gives a sense of the environment the objects belong in.

This pencil study of an apple, a jug and a box on a shelf by Irimia Constantin Ciprian uses fottage which adds an interesting detail. I like the raw approach to shading here. The artist has really gone for it, the pencil marks are clear showing she has used different grades of light to dark pencils. Dark shadows and highlights give a good sense of form.

Pen and ink study from IIian Savkov shows a collection of glasses, cans and bottles, most of which look to be vessels for alcoholic beverages. White and black ink is used on a yellow tinted paper. The artist has allowed the ink to run and there is a sense of the study being hurriedly done with out to much concern for straight lines and neat edges. I think this enhances the pictures intoxicating alcoholic subject.The transparency of the glass is hinted at with the odd high light and the can showing through one of the glasses. Compositionally the grouping is central and bunched together.

I am draw to Tim Hearne’s colour pencil study of a group of assorted pills entitled ‘take your medicine’ because again the artist has taken a mundane every day item that we all take for granted and turned it in to a work of art. It’s also a very well observed study with every little detail of shadow an high light accounted for.

Jaro Varga’s pencil study of a row of books on a self is interesting because of its very liner composition. All the lines are either horizontal or vertical. The books on the self are surrounded by dark shadow making them the obvious focal point. As you start to try to read the titles the artist has obviously spent much time over you realise they are back to front. This means the artist must have looked in a mirror. So the study is really of the reflection of the books and not the books them self’s.

There is a running theme in the art works I have looked at above. most are of objects on shelf’s. This is because I have my self been inspired by such an arrangement.

An empty glass jar that once held bath salts sits on the radiator in my bedroom. One morning whilst laying in bed I thought how interesting the shadow and reflected light through the transparent glass where. It was then I decided to go for an all glass subject for the made objects section of this assignment. The glass jars and bottles I collect would naturally be in a linear arrangement if they where to be on the radiator. I liked this setting for them as I thought it would be interesting to study subtle tone changes on the magnolia back drop of the wall and radiator. Also this will be my first studies of glass although I have been dabbling with the brushes and pencils for quite some years. So an iterating project ahead for me.

Still life arangment

Still life arangment


About Emma Perring

Artist, oil painter

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