Peer critiques - some useful words

How to do: Still Life

1. Setting up a Still-Life
These images show the importance of setting up a still life and taking time to observe the angles and viewpoints that are possible. Using a digital camera to snap these view points is a simple, fast and effective way to "see" the compositional strengths and weaknesses at a glance. It also is a good way to see how the light works and how colours are "changed" by objects nearby - see how the blue surface is made purple by the red pepper for example. See also how a different angle totally changes the light and thereby the colours.

Here are a set of images taken by walking around and over a still life. Of course you could also use the photo as the source image and make your painting from that - especially helpful if the fruit starts to change as days pass by!

2. Painting a Still-Life in stages
The images show the steps from sketch to flat washes for the various objects (a pale colour ground is washed on per object colour), followed by early development of the shapes using dry washes and in the case of the red pepper, wet washes (to show its waxy quality), also the examples show how the local colours are reflected in each adjacent object (yellow in the red pepper for example),  there is an indication of how the highlights are looking (left as untouched white paper), finally a few areas have been developed further just to show how deeper shades can be developed indicating how the image might look at the end.

Although the early washes (the ground colours) are done quite carefully with not too much water in the brush, the overall style is loose and open with brushwork not too fussy to provide accidental overlaps. The later layers are added with more freedom in the brushwork. Soft tissue/cloth is used to regularly lift off excess colour and moisture (a light dabbing motion is all that is needed).  

Lighter weight papers should be stretched beforehand, heavier papers (300lbs and above) should be okay though you may need to wait 10-15 minutes if the paper surface gets too wet

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