'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Still Life

In the tradition of the Dutch Still Life masters, we have set ourselves up a 'still life' to paint. We've begun with a large box painted black inside, and, with a view to alluding to the traditional 'vanitas' theme (all earthly things are but vanity - meaningless), brought a few things from home to arrange.
But when I took the photo, I was surprised to see just how much like a painting it looks already.

We are attempting to build up the painting in layers, but as this method traditionally used oil paint, have had to adapt it to acrylics. I'm sceptical of the chances of success, but I'll give it a go.
Sadly, oils are not used in my class because of the fumes and cost, so I may finish this off at home. It seems a pity not to do the best job I can on such an inspiring scene!


  1. That looks super tough unless you really go abstract....

  2. If naturalistic artists of the past had had access to digital cameras would they have bothered to paint? You're right - your arrangement already does look like a fine painting. I look forward to seeing your finished piece.

  3. Susan - that's not an option for this exercise... But a good suggestion!

    YP - short answer, probably not! And I believe that is why artists today are constantly finding new reasons for and ways of making art. Because we no longer need it to have a record of something or someone.

    I started today. Will document the process in images.

  4. I'm looking forward to this because I think that the subject is absolutely astonishing. It is certainly a work of art in itself. I know: getting the subject right for a still life is a significant part of the exercise. Despite appreciating some of the issues I'd not stopped to think just how much goes into the composition - a HUGE amount in this case at least.