The Best Art for a Control Freak Like Me

22 Apr 2014

Pastel painting by G. Daniel Massad: Three Plums and Rosehip, pastel, 2005
One of my favorite still-life artists is G. Daniel Massad.
He plays with space in an incredible way. His pastel
paintings are stark, eerie, and lovely all at once. Above,
Three Plums and Rosehip, 2005, pastel, 11 x 10 7/8.
What I love best about still life painting is that I have absolute control—over my "model," the lighting, the set-up, and the execution. I can paint what I want, how I want, and nothing impedes my vision. And the lessons I've learned through still life are many and varied—and crucial—which is why so many professional artists that I know never stop painting still lifes or floral paintings, no matter what else they are working on in the studio, and why absolute non-professionals like me find still life art and flower painting so rewarding. After all, a believable still life oil painting or watercolor still life of simple objects like a teacup and saucer offers me the same challenges as drawing the curves and forms of the human figure.

I've run into a few non-artists who think that still life is somehow rudimentary in art, but that's such a misconception. There's so much that goes into still life. My checklist includes what to equip my studio with; how to arrange a still life; and, most importantly, how to tell a compelling story with my chosen objects. And then there's the actual execution: how to paint a still life or floral painting evocatively and how to use advanced painting methods to bring a still life painting to a virtuosic finish.

Every time I work on a still life I feel like I learn more about Old Master strategies like lowering the horizon line to give more impact to my still life objects, and how to mix paints on my palette to get the metallic look and sheen of bronze (fyi: burnt sienna with ultramarine blue shadows and highlights made with more burnt sienna, cadmium yellow light, cadmium red medium, and titanium white).

Sunny Side Up by Soon Warren, watercolor painting 22 x 30.

Sunny Side Up by Soon Warren, watercolor painting
22 x 30

What's great is that wherever I go this spring, I can take the resources in Soon Warren's Kit—essentially a still life and floral painting library in itself!—with me. And it is here for you right now, too, with all the still life instruction and expertise you need. It will never be more fulfilling to master painting and drawing essentials than through this painting kit. With it, you'll be ready to conquer any still life you want, and know that you have the experience to take those skills even further. At least that is how I feel. I can't wait to see what it inspires in you. Enjoy!


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