Thursday, February 17, 2011

Step by Step - Still Life

 This is a new large still life painting in acrylic that I'm working on. I've switched over to acrylic because I need this painting to dry quickly. I often choose a birds eye view with graphic cropping, but for this one I wanted to incorporate draped fabric. The canvas is 30 x 30 so it's fairly large. I started by creating some movement on the canvas with molding paste,which I feel will create some textural interest, lead the eye, and add some energy. I then did a partial value study in burnt sienna to give me enough information to proceed.

This is the beginning of my colour block in. So far I'm liking it.

I've been working on loosening up my painting style and trying for more painterly brushstrokes. Some days I'm there and other days I revert back to what I know. It's important for me to always be concentrating on something new to focus on, in order to keep the bar moving higher and therefore increasing my skills as a painter. Before starting this painting I was reading Richard Schmid's book Alla Prima - Everything I Know About Painting. He has a check list of mistakes that artists often make and one of them jumped out at me. It was "Trying to paint things instead of colour shapes". Now I have heard  this said in 100 different ways during the time I have been painting, but for some reason, maybe merely because I'm at a point where I can make it make sense to me, this statement is really speaking to me as I paint this still life. If I ignore what I'm painting, squint hard and paint colour shapes, the brushstrokes will take care of themselves, hopefully. So this is my mantra for this painting, let's see how it evolves. Here's a link to Youtube of the opening of the LOOK Show and right at the beginning is a very impromptu, non rehearsed, off the top of my head interview.



  1. Your painting looks promising, Claire! I like the cascading values from top left to bottom right. You're so right about the "gap" between knowing and understanding---not only do I remind myself to not paint things, I say it to others and still boomerang back! I rented a Schmid video last year and loved watching him lay in a gray rectangle and voila,
    it was a roof! Congrats on LOOK---hope you have lots of "aha" moments with this painting!

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. And I love seeing your work in progress. The reds in those grapes are beautiful. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your progress on this.

  3. Hi Claire
    With such a successful beginning each following stage just has to be wonderful! I really like the division of light side/dark side and the exciting movement in this well thought-out composition.
    Your interview was easy to watch and informative. You were so natural and semingly comfortable. Looked like a well attended occasion with high energy.

  4. Thank you Lorraine, Virginia and Steven for your thoughtful comments.