[00:03.00]Listen to part of a lecture in an art class.
[00:06.00]Professor:This week you are going to be studying something new, a painting in still-life. [00:10.70]First I want to give you a little background that might be helpful when you start working. [00:16.00]We spend a lot of time on portrays in this class and moving from painting people to painting objects, might feel like a big shift.[00:25.00] But I think it’s important for you to understand that you could pack just as much life and vibrancy and excitement into a painting of a bowl of fruit as you can into something more dynamic.
[00:37.00]And, you know, still-lives don’t just need to be straightforward representations. [00:42.70]A lot of still-life painters really use the simplicity of the style to send a message or tell a story, even portrays sometimes include elements of still-life paintings. [00:55.10]For example, in a portray, there might be a map, hanging on the wall.[00:59.80] Or there might be some books on the table next to the subject. [01:03.20] These objects tell you something about the subject like maybe that person was well-educated.
[01:09.50] A big part of still-life painting is the use of those kinds of symbols. [01:14.80]The objects you include can provide more contacts than help convey your message. [01:20.50] I’d also like to show everyone an example of still-life that we can talk about a little and use to get some inspiration.
[01:28.50]This is by James Peale, one of the true masters of the art of still-life.[01:34.50]This piece is called Still-life, bowls, some apples and vegetables. [01:39.70]And it’s a really, really great example of what I’m going to be looking forward in your painting.
[01:45.50]Now, Peale did his work in the early 19th century. [01:49.44]And painters of that period approached still-life painting from a scientific perspective. [01:55.30]Let’s look at this painting to help you understand what I mean. [01:58.66]See the red tomatoes in the foreground and how vibrant that color is? [02:03.60]And if you look at the large heads of cabbage farther back, every detail, every crinkle in each leaf, all the fruits, are so precise. [02:13.60]They are almost like a sketch you’d see in a field guide. [02:16.80]Peale and other painters of this era used still-life painting as a way of exploring the natural world and satisfying their curiosity about nature.
[02:28.60]So now we can take some time to discuss a little more of… more about the… the actual process of still-life painting. [02:38.00]Now, before you paint a single stroke, you’ve got to plan the composition of your painting. [02:44.00]You know, the arrangement of the objects to make sure everything is set up the way you wanted. [02:49.30] I remember a still-life piece I painted when I was in university. [02:53.80]It was vegetables I think and I had created sketches of the setting. [02:58.20]But then I realized the arrangement of the vegetables in a basket just, just didn’t look right. [03:05.10]So I had to start over. [03:06.70]So I can say from experience it’s really important to make sure your arrangement is just right before you even start painting.
[03:14.60]Now, what are some ways to make sure the composition of your painting is the way you want it to be? [03:21.00]Well, it’s important in the still-life to make sure you’re not overdoing the amount of positive space, the amount of stuff in your piece. [03:30.70]The still-life really is not just about the subject matter.[03:35.30] If you make a really cluttered composition, with too much going on, it can throw off your painting. [03:41.60] That’s something you notice in the James Peale painting. [03:45.30] Notice how it really… you know it makes great use of negative space, you can see how he sort of embraces those little empty spots on the table. [03:47.70]And that adds a really nice sense of balance.
[04:01.20]Also, try to make your still-life look natural. [04:04.80]If it looks contrived and if it’s obvious a person deliberately arranged everything, it takes away from the simplicity and the natural feel of the work. [04:14.70]Basically the best still-life paintings are the ones where the objects don’t look arranged for the painting at all, but that those tomatoes are near that cabbage on a table by accident.