It's the time of year for decorated garlands, ribbons and
bows, and cheery lights, all of which have me in a festive mood to create a few
seasonal still life paintings
incorporating objects that really communicate a
I could start with pulling off a few of my favorite
ornaments from the Christmas tree. I have two in particular--a little red
tricycle and a kangaroo in a knitted "pouch"--that were handed down to me from
my great-grandmother. I think it would be a great homage to put those objects
together with a photograph of her for a still life painting because the objects
have significant meaning to me and mine.
Gleaming and glinting surfaces are also a really big part of
any holiday decoration still life painting set-up. Glass, gilt, and metallic objects all give off a
shimmer and shine, but be careful to use them sparingly. Every object in a
still life artwork doesn't have to grab attention. There should definitely be a
hierarchy of visual "pull," so start with your "bling" object and add subtle
touches to balance out and build character into your
And when I find myself trying to cram too much into a
composition, I take a lesson from a childhood holiday classic--A Charlie Brown Christmas--and I recall how
Charlie Brown's hunched over Christmas tree looked adorable with one bright and
colorful Christmas ball handing from it. Still life artists, we don't have to
jam-pack our compositions with objects to justify painting them. Edit yourself
and you'll be far happier with the results.
For more still life painting ideas, I go to C.W.Mundy's Mastering the Dramatic Still Life DVD,
plus Still Life Painting Highlights--it
has been heaven sent because of its in-depth articles on arranging and creating visual movement in still lifes. Now's a great time to pick and choose a few great resources for yourself
because the Artist Daily Store is offering a storewide 30% off coupon, plus an
additional 20% of back issues and another 10% off on CDs and eBooks. Yep, do
the math--that is tons of good savings. Enjoy!
How would you add a bit of festivity to a still
life composition? Leave a comment and let me know.