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.
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.