View Full Version : Still Life, My Way!

09-07-1999, 08:03 AM
Hi All,
During the last week I have painted a still life and recorded each stage, Scott has posted the results on site. I would appreciate your criticisms so I have posted it here,
Look forward to your constructive comments,
Regards Rod.

Diana Lee
09-07-1999, 03:12 PM
Hi Rod,

Your piece is really very good. I almost feel any critique would verge on nit picking, but here's the "but". The apples still seem to be floating a bit. If you applied just a subtle touch of the apple color on to the table cloth right under the apple it would secure them. The shadows would also help anchor the apples if they were darker right at the apples and then slightly faded as they receded.
Again, let me say the piece is beautiful.

Diana Lee
09-07-1999, 03:16 PM
Let me add, I am getting ready to paint a stilllife of some important kitchen objects of a dear friend. When I am done I will let you all have at me, but be kind, I am old and a mother.


Johannes Instructor
09-07-1999, 05:19 PM
Diana is right about the reflection on the table cloth. I would also make the negative space (the blue wall in the back) more interesting instead of the solid blue. Maybe one of the apples should be a different color
so they won't compete for attention.

[This message has been edited by Johannes (edited 09-07-99).]

09-08-1999, 05:51 AM
Hi Diana,
Thanks for your comments, I agree with the color reflections and the shadows. I understand as I am an old father http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Hi Johannes,
Thanks also for your comments, the backgound had some granulation but is plain. Difficult to change color apples, will try.

Have modified painting using wet into wet techniques, have a look,
Cheers Rod


Criticisms still wanted,please.

09-08-1999, 08:57 AM
Great job on anchoring the apples! That was the first thing I noticed in the first version too. I find it very difficult to come up with something to criticize! Good job!

Very minor points - the negative space (one of my big weaknesses) still doesn't seem right. I think I liked the first wall better. On the second version, it feels a little like it's curving inward towards the left. The cloth seems very slightly 'stiff' on the left side. My first thought was it needed shadows along the edge, but that is probably wrong since the light source is from that direction. So all I can say is that's my impression and I don't know why.


09-08-1999, 09:28 AM
rod,,,,the problem with blue walls is that blue is perceived as sky color. so you automatically have to deal with "spacey", empty looking background. another blue would have worked better. and when you filled in the wall you added,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,clouds!!! one problem with many artists when implementing a "makeover" is that they never really get away from the initial error,,,,they kinda "redress" it. as you did,,,you merely added frills to cover up an error. when sargent made a mistake, he scrapped it off and redid. this discipline keeps an artist from "playing" with a mistake.
also,,,a better way to render glass is to paint the reflections,,,not the glass. glass is there yet not there. you see thru it and what is reflected in it,,,but not IT. a simple correction might help. you heavily painted the curve of the glass. there where the edge of the glass is painted in front of the shadow of the jar on the wall, and where the glass edge is in front of its own shadow on the wall. you painted those two areas in a light grey/off white. forget, for a second, what actually is, and see instead what should be.........if you place your fingers over both edges that i described, eliminating them from view,,,see how how more crystalline the galss appears. GLASS IS DELICATE,,,PAINT QUICKLY, LIGHTLY TO MATCH ITS FRAGILITY.....milt

Diana Lee
09-08-1999, 11:06 AM
Hi Rod,

It looks great, with the apples all nestled in the cloth. I do have a question however, Sargent painted in oils, I think, and could scrape the canvas, what is the equivalent in watercolor to scrapping the canvas? One of the reason watercolor terrifies me is I have been under the impression that it is unforgiving, there is no turning back. If there is a way of correction I may give it a try.

I agree with Milt, the glass could be more transparent, but I liked the background the way it was. It had a slight hint of Magritte, it gave you air to breathe while you were looking at the objects. (and this is coming from a person who suffers from horror vacuie, sorry about the spelling)


09-08-1999, 03:29 PM
diana,,,,it was oils that sargent scraped...i didn't notice that rod piece was watercolor. and to that extent, rod would have to plan ,,,,there are things you can't take back. however, the very nature of WC can be to your advantage if you get really drunk and approach it loosey-goosey. WC, by its nature, allows for many accidents. the best thing to do is to implement this characteristic into your style. you really do have to jump right in and experience WC's many ups and downs... eventually you learn to control them. there are several approaches to WC,,,, one of which is to paint opaquely, with white and thick greys or pigment... to swipe with a rag and paint on top ... silverman does this,he paints on hot press board that allows him to wipe and redo,,,and david levine. check out british WC's.

09-08-1999, 03:56 PM
Hi All,
Thanks for your comments, full details of how I did it are on site of this watercolor, have a look and comment on methods etc,
Thanks Rod,

Diana Lee
09-08-1999, 05:46 PM
Hi Rod,

The greatest compliment anyone can give an artist be it an actor, dancer, or painter is that they make it look easy. You make it look easy.

09-08-1999, 09:34 PM
I disagree with bruin70 about the blue background. I think you can paint it and still allow it to look good. I like it in your painting Rod. I think you should decide when you like the painting yourself and stop there. Once you start listening to too much advice it gets confusing and its too hard to please everyone.
Also, in regards to 'fixing' watercolour when youve painted it and allowed it to dry. You can carefully attack your painting with an old toothbrush. If you wet it and scrub in the areas where you want it to be lighter, the paint will lift out. If you do this carefully and not too often, it will work, I know, Ive seen it done and Ive done it myself.

09-09-1999, 12:51 AM
OK, like I know anything...
How about reflecting the apples into the glass and the jar? Both are smooth, therefore reflective.
Also, I wonder how the bacground would do if it were similar in either color or value to the table top. Then the eye wouldn't be distracted by all the peripherial colors, instead it would stay focused on the items of intended interest.
Critique of this critique welcomed.

09-09-1999, 03:47 AM
Hi All,
After cementing the apples and adding the side shadow to the apple on the right I am happy with the foreground objects. The apples are too far from the jar for reflections. I will modify the background again, might use my crumpled plastic sheet to give some random texture and at the same time sponge off some color,
Thanks again Rod.

09-09-1999, 03:50 AM
Hi Diana,
Do I get the impression you might get back to watercolors?. I will try my scratchboard soon,
Theres a challenge! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

Diana Lee
09-09-1999, 11:24 AM
Hi Rod,

I tried watercolor a couple of times and considered them failures. I had one passable piece and I believe that was mostly luck. Watercolor really scares me, I said you had a way of making it LOOK easy. Barishnakov made dance LOOK easy, but I know I can't do what he did. OK, OK, OK. I'll give it a try. I'll try to copy something when I am done with my current oil still life.

09-10-1999, 04:49 AM
Hi All,
Thanks for all of your comments, following the advise I made a better painting and we all learned something.
This is the final painting, now ready to frame,
Cheers Rod.

05-05-2001, 06:37 AM
Good onya Rod http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

ART by TeAnne (http://www.ipec.net.au/teanne/TeAnneArt.html)
I must make a piece of art everyday for my own well being.

05-05-2001, 08:03 AM
This has to be one of the most enlightening threads I've ever read.

Seriously. Milt, your comments are great. I never even thought of the blue background deal but the minute you pointed it out I could see it clear as a bell.

Wonderful piece, Rod! I've been dabbling in watercolors of late and the information here, as well as seeing your painting, is helping a lot.

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05-05-2001, 09:33 AM
Very nice, the lace cloth is very delicate and detail.

"put some colour in my world!""

05-05-2001, 09:38 AM
For your style Diana is right.

I am amazed at the accuracy which you devote your energy towards.

I see you put some apple color on the pottery.

If it were me I would enhance the painting with the apple color more extensively to increase the sense of movement and stillness.

05-05-2001, 10:06 AM
Hey Rod! I opened this up and thought, "Did Rod paint the same thing again after all this time?" And then I thought you STILL had a problem with the floating apples! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Then I realized it was that old, old thread brought back to life and your fixed version isn't showing up. Interesting! Brought back memories! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

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