View Full Version : still life?

04-04-2008, 02:43 PM

Title: still life?
Year Created: 2008
Medium: Oil
Surface: Board
Dimension: 16 x 20
Allow digital alterations?: Yes!

other titles ...<br><br>party of the gods<br><br>getting high, deity style<br><br>party at eves place?<br><br>i dunno but i think i have reached my level of competence with still lives and have decided i don't get along well with glass

any advise for improvement is most welcome<br><br>thanks<br><br>la

04-04-2008, 04:15 PM
seems to me the glass is very well done. The other companion objects need hit with soft but decisive highlights as well, in agreement with those on the glass, perhaps the soft indication of shadow on the wall as well. (no shaped outline, the light is too soft) How could it be better LA!....... "Apple Whimsy"

04-04-2008, 08:52 PM
Well painted but I question repeating your gauzy fantastic little girl memories in still lives. Or is the plural "still lifes". Well, we're artists, not English majors.

Anyhow, I'm for more contrast in the present painting.

04-05-2008, 01:57 AM
thanks guys : )

gauzy is a good description ... the morph is cool but it put it into art deco for me ... i'm trying to go darker ... ideally a couple shines on the glass, slight glow on the goblet, slightly sweaty apple slices, hint of glimmer on the red apple, light in only the areas necesary to barely show what's there

the vision does not match the outcome



burnt umber and sienna are the dominant darks, some cad red back there too i think, perhaps greens and blues now? i'd really like to keep the heavy earth tones, warm and rich, not dark and dank ...


04-05-2008, 09:32 AM
Let me respond to your post in the spirit of dialog.

You don't entirely embrace the photoshop as it's headed towards "art deco". I don't get the reference. When I think "art deco", I think Chrysler building in NYC and forms like that, not a type of lighting. I'm not trying to fight you on the point; I'm just saying I don't understand what the term means to you.

But I'm not arguing that the photoshop is the answer. On balance, I find it more attractive than your first post but I'm in full sympathy with your view that it's not the entire answer. After all photoshop is a rather blunt tool to morph a painting and I feel its use on the forum is just to make some points about alternate treatments. You do accept the idea that at least, some more darks need to join the party.

As I think more about the painting, I wonder if there's an issue with the creation of your digital image. Is there glare from the light source that contributes to the gauzy film that seems to pervade your post? If your image is not true, all bets are off.

But anyhow, back to the contrast issue, I've been a fan of your "little girl memories" series. I think it's evocative and wildly original. And I'm not even a girl! The gauzy effect you created for that series is a big part of its success for me but the current painting shows, at least to me, that it doesn't travel well to this more concrete subject.

When you speak in detail as to which colors to use, I never know how to answer that. I've met artists who can recite with great precision the colors they use and who plan the use in advance, like military planners. I'm one of those instinctive mixers. I don't use a limitied selection of paints but I swirl them together like Julia Child making a stew until it looks interesting. But I think one of the great strengths of this painting as it comes together is the combination of cool blue darks with the continuum of ochres.

And since I've spent more time mulling and typing, I've picked up a couple of other suggestions:

The tall vase is a bit mis-drawn. It's so easy to do this and so easy for the viewer to pick up on the asymmetry between the line of both sides. When you choose to paint a vase, it's gotta be right.

The apple's a little flat, no? Just a bit more value variation to show roundness.

And compositionally, I'd prefer if the four slices were not arrayed at 90 degrees but were laid out more randomly.

04-05-2008, 10:45 AM
La - isnt it frustrating to see what you want to do and not quite get there on canvas?
There's some issues with the shapes themselves. The base of the glass is too small, the vase is mis-shapen, the tipped over glass is out of whack a bit... the size of the apple is a bit too small.... and to make it all more difficult the objects are glass! Another challange...I'm not a big fan of doing still lifes myself becasue all those pesky details have to be right to be believable.
Is this from a photo ref or a real set up? If, like me you do things from your imaginatiion its harder to see what it technically wrong. And I think its probably not the greatest digital photo that we're seeing.
Right now your treatment of the subject is a bit tenative, not in command.
Why not try a study of each element in the painting....you know me - a small study ;-) ... maybe 5x7 and fill the whole space.... one apple 5x7, another 5x7 with one glass... and really get to know each subject, then go back and touch up this one. I think you will then be able to go forward and get the mood and the effect that you see in your vision.

John Jaster
04-06-2008, 09:31 AM
There is a dreamlike quality. The gauzy haze, the slightly off dimensions of items, the perfectly arranged fruit slices, even the caput mortum earthy violet look throughout, they all contribute to the dream. Combined with the stonework and the classic vase I can imagine the old world god essence you intended. And I like the Party at Eves title idea.

04-06-2008, 11:12 PM

tgsloth and spyder - agreed and thank you both for all your words : ) - the shapes are wonky and that's okay (or would be okay) if i could get the mood of darkness i want, the mystery if you will ... I too mix little bits of whatever with brush or knife and get fantastic things to apply to canvas, but i lack the accurate imagination to depict as reality, that's okay too, i like non reality, but in this case specifically i need to know exactly where to leave light behind to allow the story to be discovered ... live set up (deep sigh) is the unavoidable thing ...

John, there is, and they do ... and not what i wanted that day, but i am glad you are able to imagine the old world god essence ... 'caput mortum earthy violet' - wow, how bizarre

i will set up the light source sometime in the dark, and paint in the night ... like the guy who tied himself to the front of a ship to experience in order to paint with most intensity, the power, of a churning sea storm

: )