View Full Version : Need Help with Still Life

07-18-2008, 02:59 PM
I've been working on this one for two days and it's finished but it doesn't seem right, no oomph, I like the bread but I think the values are wrong with the other parts of the painting and frankly I'm too close to the forest to see the trees. I changed the breadboard from white to pale green it did help some but????:confused: It's acrylic 8 x 10 http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Jul-2008/52562-Down_at_the_Heel.jpg
Your help and suggestions very much apprciated.

07-18-2008, 03:06 PM
What about really lightening up the knife blade to kind of balance the light cut side of the bread?


07-18-2008, 03:13 PM
I've tried that but is seems to make the knife washed out and I'm trying to show stainless. Maybe the board is too light?

07-18-2008, 03:15 PM
I think your perspective for the bread is different than the bread board. I don't know exactly how to explain what I am seeing. Even though they are still life objects, perspective and vanishing points and a horizon line still apply. Maybe it is that the line the vanishing point is on for the bread is higher than the one for the board.

07-18-2008, 03:18 PM
Mickey I think it was the way I set up the still life, the bread board was on an angle and the bread was angled across the left hand upper corner. But, thanks for telling me about the perspective, something I always struggle with.

07-18-2008, 03:18 PM
I think you need to keep contrast between the board and the background. What about extending the reflection of the bread across more of the blade?


George Servais
07-18-2008, 03:21 PM
Pretty darned good but something kept bothering me. As hard as I tried I could not keep my eye from being pulled to the background. Too dark it seems witha slightly lighter patch just right of the bread. The mottled background is the right idea but I feel it needs to be smoother and just a few values darker than the main subjects and a tad darker around the corners to frame the central subjects of interest.

07-18-2008, 03:31 PM
my concern is about perspective too !IMO you have to do a smaller angle on the plate (bottom left)

07-18-2008, 03:47 PM

07-18-2008, 03:56 PM
So you're saying i should change the position of the knife, the shadow and change the background color and fixe the perspective? I must say, what you've shown me is far better than my picture! I like the knife coming into it from that angle. THANK YOU SO MUCH AND ALL OF THE OTHERS WHO GAVE THEIR ADVICE AS WELL.

Charlie's Mum
07-18-2008, 05:15 PM
Yes Purple, you do need to check your perspective to make sure you have only one eye level :) - I did a little drawing earlier but couldn't upload it, sorry - but at present you have two eye levels in this!

Making two separate planes is a good idea too - a horizontal surface and a vertical one - this would allow you to create more sense of depth and give more area for the play of light and shadow.

Notice how Bob re-directs the eye with the change of position of the knife?
It brings the viewer into the picture from another angle and creates interest on the right - something to try to do with any composition. .... and giving the piece a definite light angle so you can contrast the tones more creates much more interest.

Some good painting already here - but I think you'll be happier with it when you make the 'corrections' :D

07-18-2008, 06:56 PM
Paintings are two dimensional designs made up of shapes, values, colors, lines, etc. The design may or may not suggest objects. Either way it must work as a two dimensional design. All the detail, rendering and realism can not compensate for a poor design. Many good paintings have some sort of visual lead in. Light can be used to organize a still life or a landscape. The shadow shape is as important as the bread shape or the knife shape. The dark band at the top was added to counter that empty feeling up there. What if ________ (fill in your current favorite artist) handed you a sketch and all you had to do was paint it? Would your art improve? Next time spend three quarters of your time working up a series of black and white sketches and one quarter actually painting the best one. Good luck!