I began by writing out the assignment criteria into my sketch book as a place to start from. I Then reminded myself of techniques and media used by looking back trough the exercises I had completed making a note of these for quick referencing during assignment 2. After this I proceeded to brainstorm some ideas I might like to carry forward and develop. The brief asks us to use predominately natural objects for the still life. This scuppers a lot of the ideas I had. However I’m going to try and get round this by including natural elements with the elements I want to use, some of which are man made.
still life: A painting or drawing of an arrangement of objects. (dictionary definition)
Which begs the question can an object be a living thing? A person or animal surly would not be called an object but a plant that remains static might be? I have gone off on this tangent because I’d like to use the view form a window as part of my composition allah Ben Nicoleson. This yen stems from a quick oil pastel sketch I made inspired after looking at the work of Ben Nicoleson. Here is that drawing.
I have a fascination with the way the light falls trough the transparent washing up liquid and other cleaning fluids I put on my window sill as its by the sink. The cleaning product companies very kindly produce their potions in wonderfully bright hues. Irresistible for a magpie like me.
Also I am again reminded of a beautiful oil painting, ‘Abstergent Still Life’ by George Barecca that struck me because of how he had observed the light falling through cleaning product vessels just as I do whilst washing up. I included this in the prelim work for assignment one and feel it is more relevant to this assignment as I’m looking at the same subject.
After some brain storming and several days to mull over ideas I made these three ruff sketches in ball point of possible compositions I’d like to take further. I liked the idea of the composition happening by chance, not a thought out arraignment. As artist we all see chance arrangements of objects from day to day such as rubbish piles, supermarket shelf’s etc.. That we might find interesting to draw/paint/copy in some way.
The first drawing is scene from my bathroom stuffed full of my beautifying potions. It struck me that this was in some way an autobiographical drawing. A bit like Tracy Emin and her unmade bed. Further still I toyed with the idea of catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Perhaps this would be pushing the ‘still life’ brief to far.
The second drawing in the lower right hand conner of the first page is a quick study of a supermarket bag stuffed full of rubbish. For quite a while now I have been meaning to get round to making some drawings of plastic bags. There undulating surface is interesting and challenging. Plus I like the idea of turning rubbish into art. Turning the throw out ends of the consumption chain into the beginning product again.
‘Plastic Bag with Apple’ by Antonio Sobarzo is a hugely enlarged study of apples in a clear plastic bag. At the 51×51 inch scale the painting it the shapes becomes almost abstract but are still recognisable as fruit in a bag. The artist has chosen to zoom in on one apple in particular which we see as a large yellowish circle put into soft focus by the opayc plastic bag. The wrinkles and folds of the bag and how the light catches them are the focus of this piece showing that is what fascinated the artist and drove him to make this painting.
‘Still Life with Plastic Bag’ by Kiren Eglinton shows the groceries, in this case fruit and vegge poking out of the bag. This is a much quicker study. The bag lacks any translucency here. It probably was white in colour. The close crop works well removing any unnecessary data from the picture. It’s a cunning way I can use to add natural objects as well as getting away with studying plastic bags.
‘Bunny’ by Stephanie J Ryan Is a really powerful still life. For me it makes my blood run a little cold as I am forced to ask the question where is the child that owned this once loved toy? I think it has sinister under tones and could be the opening scene of CSI. The bunny fills the canvas. Its crumpled limbs and bowed head do so in such away that it fits in the parameters of the picture plane but does not do so comfortably. Its one beady eye stares out alarmingly. The plastic bag on which it lays looks to be stiff with frost. The white and blues here add to the feeling of cold which intern heightens the sense of abandonment. Goes to show a still life has the power to provoke an emotion. I like the dripping effect. Something I’d like to experiment with in this assignment.
The third drawing is the scene around the kitchen sink incorporating the window view. This was partially inspired by this wonderful painting of pike fish in a sink by Jeremy Price I came across by chance on wordpress. Again the artist has seen something fascinating in an every day seen and decided to paint it. The brush work is evident and expensive. The artist used strong light and dark to show form and reflective surfaces.
Whilst brain storming I decided to try to add elements from the exercises. A fish in or around the kitchen sink would make a nice addition to the arrangement.