Centerfold Models Don’t Come Along Every Day

The number one strategy for still life painting and drawing that professional artists have recommended to me or have explained to art students within my hearing (yes, I’m a major eavesdropper) is that you should not settle for the first object that comes along. The object you choose trumps all. And that means not just closing your eyes and randomly selecting the flower or vase or figurine that will be, essentially, the centerfold of your painting or drawing.

Sherrie McGraw is a master at color juxtaposition and working angles in her compositions as in this still life painting.
Sherrie McGraw is a master at color juxtaposition and working angles in her
compositions as in this still life painting.

So have some care with the items you pull into your composition, and let them inspire you–don’t force it. I was walking around the grocery store with a painter-friend who was all of a sudden struck by inspiration for an entire composition when she saw a pile of raw, unshelled almonds that looked fresh off the tree. They were a delicate green color and had a fuzzy sheen to them that was unique. I could see from the faraway expression in her face that she was already working through the possibilities as she turned the nuts over in her hands.

I’ve also seen a draftsman spend close to an hour sorting through a bouquet of flowers before he found the right buds that were worthy of his flower drawing. He discarded flower after flower, stripping off leaves and shortening stems, until he really felt passionate about what he saw. He wanted the beauty of his rose drawing to lie in the beauty of the specific roses he chose to draw.

It’s your artistic right to be choosy when it comes to the items you are going to spend a good deal of time depicting and visually exploring on the surface of your canvas or paper. So if you are challenged by how to draw flowers in a unique way or want to make an impact with your latest still life composition, carefully study the objects that draw you to them. They pull you in for some reason. Be mindful of that in your work. In the Visual Concepts in Still Life DVD with Sherrie McGraw, you’ll find that this decision is the jumping off point for the entire concept of your painting. It’s the starting point of the deeper dimension and conceptually rigorous work you may be after. And right now with Stocktober Sale at the North Light Shop, you get 40% off tons of resources, and even deeper discounts in the Sale, Clearance Bundle, and Clearance sections! Enjoy!

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

2 thoughts on “Centerfold Models Don’t Come Along Every Day

  1. AD has been under construction for months now. As a courtesy to the artists who used to post work in the member galleries, don’t you think it would be nice to inform them though an email or a note on your homepage what has been going on with the site and when it will be fully functional again? I greatly miss being able to post art and to see what other artists are doing.

    1. Hi Raf,

      Thanks for your patience during this time. We have sent out information but if you have not seen it, always feel free to let me know any questions you have.

      You can still upload art to the member galleries:

      And look at work from the past that has been put up:

      Let me know if you have questions and thanks for your continued patience as we work out the kinks. All best,