Saturday, July 7, 2012

Basic Still Life Painting Lessons

Still life is an art form depicting non-living objects such as fruits, flowers, ornaments, household objects, among others. Still life can reveal the artist behind the artwork. Most of the works also tell a story, a medium that the artists use to express themselves, or to just simply capture what's in front of them.

Starting Out

Begin by thinking what you would want to paint. Fruits? Flowers? Landscape? Wineglasses? Table setting? Once you have decided on what to do, set up the props, or if you want to bond with Mother Nature, look for a place where you can capture her grandeur the way you want it to be.

Start your still life painting with line drawing. The line drawing becomes the "skeleton" of the artwork. This will help you position your objects thoroughly. This way you can balance your objects on the canvas.

Make sure that your sketches are light to make it easier to erase and clean it up once you have proportioned and shaped your image.


Be aware of the composition of each object you are sketching: shadow length, reflections, and the color tones. Shading or the establishing of dark tones now comes in place. Deepen the tones and increase the contras. Remember that there are two tones that need to be established in detailing: the dark and the light tones.

Once you are done with the dark tones, start doing the light ones. Balance the areas of dark and light to achieve the unity of tone and form.

Color Your World

When you are doing your still life using paint or pastels, you start coloring from the background, slowly moving towards the front, paying attention to details. After coloring the background and the foreground, start doing the objects at the back. Color first the ones with darker tones; do not color the lighter-toned ones. Blend the tones gradually to one another.

Once done with the dark-toned objects, do the lighter ones next. If the lighter ones have dark areas, apply them after doing the lighter tones.

Balance the color and tones. In pastel painting, tissue is used to smooth and unify the overall tone. If there is and excess crayon, scrape it off with a palette knife.

Finishing It All Up

Color blending is important in polishing up the painting. Mixtures of various colors, blue, red, green, and brown, are blended together. These are the most common colors used. White is also used to highlight the painting. One is advised to pay close attention to black as per it is only used to deepen the very darkest tone. Black destroys the "freshness" of the artwork.

The finished work should realistically reflect what's in front of you. The harmony of the colors as well as the balance of the objects should reflect on the canvas.

These are some tips that can help a beginner start his still life painting. Color blending, shading, and color unity is important for that realistic painting that you want to showcase. Remember, still life painting reflects its artist, as well as its artist's heart. It also tells a story, so you might want to tell a very good story, enough to capture one who is looking at it.

With these simple tips, you can start capturing inanimate subjects to your canvas and give them life too. Give it your soul, and you are sure to display a wonderful masterpiece.