Art 1 – Still life painting – Due 3/10


Watch the following conversation with artist Angus Wilson about still life painting:

and the short video of his still life paintings:

In your comments, include the following:

1.  3 points about still life painting that you find of interest

2.  3 techniques from his work that you will try in your still life painting  (color, composition, or style)


3.  describe in detail the painting  you like the best and explain why you like it more than the others.

The next two paintings you will work on in class will be still lifes. One will be more realistic (based on your drawing from the fall semester.) One will be more exaggerated and sylized as Angus’ work but also based on observation from life.

SO, this week your hour sketchbook drawing is preparation for that painting.

In your sketchbook, do an hour drawing from objects that  you select and set up, in the style of Angus Wilson. You may use color or just take notes on the color scheme you intend to use.


34 responses »

  1. Three things about still life paintings that I find interesting are
    1. The variety of styles, from very realistic to very abstract.
    2. The amount of choice that an artist has in portraying a given scene.
    3. The way that they can make a boring scene seem interesting.

    3 techniques of his that I would like to try are his use of vibrant bright colours even where they wouldn’t usual be found, the blotchy background with similar colours, and the seemingly random lines that go through his compositions.

    My personal favourite of his paintings is the one that appears at around 0:53 in the second video. I particularly like the tangerines in the painting. I think that the simple way they are portrayed describes them really well, and I really like the war their colour compliments the blue backgrounds.

  2. 3 things i find interesting:
    1) The contrasting/clashing colors make the scene more interesting
    2) The scene doesn’t have to be life like but more dream like
    3) You have to digest the painting and look at it with intent rather than just glaze over it with your eyes
    3 techniques i want to try:
    1) random intersecting lines
    2) changing from more realistic to more dreamlike with vibrant colors
    3) I also want to try a composition with a strong presence of flowers like Angus does in most of his paintings

    I like the painting of the roses with the red pot around 1:32 on the second video. The roses seem to be branching out and overtaking the scene with elegance. They have a certain life and personality of their own.

  3. 1) The bright colors that are exaggerations of the true object.
    2) The black lines that divide the scene and distort it.
    3) The abstract way he approaches color and shadow, and how he modifies it to make it more vibrant and have more impact.

    1) Using vibrant, overly bright colors on certain objects to bring them out
    2) The simple shapes of the shadows that convey the image, but are just smudges
    3) The seemingly random lines that make the piece seem surreal.
    My favorite one was the three piece on a red curtain-like background. I liked it because it was very crisp and I really like the red and black color scheme. (It’s 18 seconds into the video).

  4. Three interesting things:
    1. Use of color (contrast and analogous)
    2. How the fruit are sometimes open
    3. How the backgrounds weren’t backgrounds, they were part of the foreground.

    1. His use of bright colors
    2. Background (painting one color over another)
    3. The lines that break up the image

    I liked the painting with the red lines on a white table, there was no shadow, but the lines seemed to show the angles.

  5. I liked:

    1. The cool colors and contrasts on objects that aren’t traditionally that color
    2. The strong lines dividing the aspects of the paintings
    3. The cool use of background which blends as a foreground

    I will start to use more of:
    1. ‘unrealistic’ colors of objects
    2. Lines of the image that divide the painting
    3. dream like subject matter

    My favorite painting was the one at the very beginning. I liked them all, but the one at the beginning had a lot of nice color and some symmetry

  6. Interesting things:
    The warped quality of his perspective
    His use of exaggerated color
    The lucid dreamlike quality of his paintings

    Things i will use:
    His use of lines
    His exaggerated color
    using simple shapes

    I like the paining in video to at 00:09. i love it because of the balance of colors. Towards the top, he has cool blues and whites where as towards the bottom he has fiery reds and oranges. I also love the fractured nature of the painting which is something you may not notice a first. Things look real in the painting but they have a dream like quality to them that makes them special.

  7. I thought the bold lines that cut through his art were extremely interesting and I liked the patterns they could make. I especially liked the lines in his piece with the watermelon in the second video.

    I also thought it was interesting how there was usually a point of focus, where he seemed to put the most effort and make the most detailed. I noticed this especially in his piece with the lilies that is the cover thing for the second video.

    The last thing I will mention as being interesting was his use of blotchy painting, as in he seemed to depict very few small intricate objects and used the paint to convey the image but not to look like a photograph.

    I will incorporate his use of dark lines, his calm but interesting backgrounds, and his use of color to direct a viewer’s eye where he wishes.

    My favorite piece of the two videos was the one I mentioned earlier with the lilies in the second video. I love his use of different pinks and purples and yellows which can be viewed up close at 44 on the second video.

  8. I really liked the amazing colors he used for his artwork. They define the painting in a way that normal intricate work does not. I think the looseness of his work is really amazing, and the lines cutting through help show that he is not trying to make it look perfect, but that it is a very special type of painting.

    I will use the bold lines, shading with different shades of a certain color, and loose movement of color in my paintings, because I believe they will really help to show off the shapes of the jars I am painting.

    My favorite piece of his was at 55 in the second video. It is really amazing because as the video helps you by zooming in, you need to see the pieces from two different points: Close up and from far away. From far away you get the whole picture and the bold blue coming in from the background, but when you zoom in, you notice the bold white outlines on the cut lemons and the way he uses the shade of the blue in the tablecloth to show the creases and real-ness.

  9. 1. I think it is cool how still life paintings can’t be super creative about their subjects, but they can change light and color to keep the paintings interesting.
    2. I like the colors that Wilson uses in his paintings
    3. I like the depth that still life paintings can have.
    I will try to use interesting colors, intersecting lines, and kind of outlining objects with lighter colors to make them more pronounced.
    I like the last painting in the second video because it looks like the purple flowers are trying to run away and explore the painting.

  10. – You can manipulate the colors and organization to make your viewer see things differently
    – You can still have your own signature style even though you’re painting something right in front of you
    – You can add things that aren’t there (like the lines)

    I use bold colors, have an interesting background, and use dark lines in my drawings.

    I really liked his painting at 0:18 in the second video. I liked that he broke up the image into three parts that didn’t exactly fit together but were clearly part of the same image. The red fabric backdrop went very nicely with the painting as well. It’s interesting that they work together but could be viewed individually and still look good.

  11. Interesting things about still lifes:
    -It can be challenging, because you have to transform an object you see in three dimensions into a two-dimensional drawing or painting.
    -You begin to observe more detail, like lighting and shadows, and how many colors make up a seemingly monotone surface.
    -When you paint a still life, it doesn’t have to be realistic; you can make it original.

    Techniques I will use:
    -Painting some lines bolder than others
    -Using many colors, often complementary colors, to paint an area of one color
    -Using bold, bright colors in the foreground to emphasize space

    I like the last painting on the second video best, because most of it is dark, except the fruit and the tablecloth. It appears as if it is night. I also like the way the purple color of the flowers and the blue color of the leaves go together well.

  12. In a still life painting, I always see a story. The painting is a photograph of a collection of objects in the background while something else goes on around it. What is going on outside the view featured in the painting is never specified, but you always know that it is some aspect of life. I also like that still life seems almost as though it is in motion; the round fruit are rolling, the flower petals shifting, and the observer only gets to see a split second of that. I especially like how it is both abstract and real at the same time, the objects distorted by paint but still recognizable.

    For my still life, I’d like to try using Wilson’s exaggerated color, slight distortion of objects, and sharp color contrasts.

    I liked the painting of a vase with fruit on the side on a small table by a window because it alludes to more of a story than what the painting depicts. You can see the outside, the leaves of a tree or bush barely visible; the paint on the walls and drapery show you what the owner of the house enjoys; the tablecloth that seems rather inexpensive, based on the material. You see more than just a vase, you see somebody’s life.

  13. 1. The use of lines to draw your eyes to certain places
    2. The ability to paint what you feel like painting and take out bits you don’t like
    3. The use of very bright colors and exaggeration

    1. I will try to use his vibrant colors and their contrasts
    2. I will try to use his use of lines to draw people’s eyes to where I want
    3. I will try to use dark lines

    My favorite painting was one with the vase of lilies, a lavender bowl of oranges with other oranges on the table, a red table cloth, a small bright green bowl with nothing in it all on a white dresser and some lavender and yellow spots on the other walls, though it’s predominately blue. I like the colors, and the lilies and other, smaller flowers are very beautiful.

  14. 1)
    a. I found the many uses of style very interesting.
    b. The amounts of colors can change, and doesn’t have to resemble what you’re drawing.
    c. Even though it is still, you can still draw motion.
    a. I will try to us a lot of vibrant colors.
    b. Distortion of the objects.
    c. I will also use strong borderlines.
    At 1:13 the contrast of bright oranges and yellows with the blues and purples are quite appealing. I thought his blending of colors were quite clever, with a fruit in the background that shared both warm and cold colors. It had an overall strong design.

  15. Interesting things about still life paintings:
    1. It’s cool how you can still have your own distinct style within the genre of still life painting, like Angus Wilson.
    2. It’s nice to have the freedom to include or leave out things within a scene that one is painting.
    3. Ability to provoke thought by just painting something from real life.

    Possible Techniques:
    1. Use of intersecting lines like in his paintings.
    2. Changing colors to make a surreal effect.
    3. Use of some defined lines and some without definition to highlight parts within the paintings.

    Favorite Painting:
    The one that is split into three sections, with sunflowers and lemons on the left side, a vase and various fruits in the middle, and flowers and limes on the right. I like it because does a good job of combining realism with his unique style. Some of the other paintings are too unrealistic for me, but this one has the right combination. Also, I like the color scheme a lot; it has mostly warms, but some cools in there to balance it out.

    • That an interesting analysis about your favorite painting. You were able to cite what you liked about it in particular and contrast it with others that lacked something for you. Sometimes it is easier to see what we like by contrast.

  16. 1: In still life paintings there doesn’t seem to be a single subject rather the objects and there relationships become the focal point.
    2:there is no movement in still lifes so the subjects themselves are emphasized instead of what might be happening as in many paintings.
    3:Angus also doesn’t create many details which further brings attention to the objects themselves rather than the painting of it.

    1:Bright/saturated colors
    2:Contrasting and complementing colors
    3:sharp and blurred lines to create a focal point and contrast and complementary/borders lines.

    The painting i liked the most was the one(at 0:16) with the half eaten orange and white and red flowers on a long table. a line from the bottom of the table brings the eye to the orange which looking hastily peeled and only partially eaten evoke a sense of urgency or intensity and chaos in me. Furthermore, the white table catches the eye and is and is pulled by the lighter background but reflected by the flowers and back down effectively keeping your focus in the center.

    • You are so right – the point of most still lifes is about the relationships: the positive negative space relationships, shape combinations, light/dark, near/far, and how you travel around the objects. You have great specificity in your analysis of your favorite and the emotions that you felt.

  17. 1: I like the freedom of selecting certain objects and arranging them. Certain objects put together can have an interesting message and I like all of the opportunity for that.
    2: I don’t want to say they are easier necessarily but it’s definitely easier to capture still objects instead of objects in motion.
    3: They can be detailed and realistic or more fluid and abstract or somewhere in between.

    1: Maybe an abstract color scheme
    2: Hella shading (to the best of my ability with paint)
    3: Detailed objects overlapping each other

    My favorite painting is shown only briefly in the first video. Most of the objects in the paintings are outlined in black but the ones in this painting are outlined in red which is visually intriguing. The color scheme is mostly warm with deep reds and oranges but there’s a soft blue in the background which I like a lot.

  18. 1.1.The rim is thick, interesting style.
    2.The color combination make the object looks abstractive.
    3.Those special lines make it looks cool.
    2.1.Two or more pure color in one small part of an object.
    2.Use black lines.
    3.Use more bright color.
    3.I like the third painting of the second video, fruits and flowers used bright colors, make people feel comfortable when looking at it. The black line, divided the picture, it’s the symble of his style. And the background is red, it set off the front objects.

  19. 3 points about still life paintings that i find interesting:
    1. dimension with the colors make it look real
    2. the amount of the different varieties of colors
    3. the styles with the flowers up and the fruit on the bottom
    3 techniques from his work that I will try in my still life painting are:
    1. The varieties of colors and depths used with them
    2. the different amounts of objects
    3. all the different and random lines that he puts through his paintings
    The picture i liked the best was the one around 0:53. I liked all the shades of blues mixed in and the random lines going through the painting.

  20. 1)I like the use of lines to draw the yes to certain places
    2) The warped quality of his perspective
    3)i like that the background and foreground are really, just one

    1)Im going to try and use some vibrant colors
    2)simple shadows
    3) strong borderlines

    my favorite painting was at 45 seconds in the second video of the flowers, though it is only partly shown

  21. Things I find interesting about still life’s:
    1) The vibrant colors around bold backgrounds.
    2) The artists ability to control what the viewer looks at.
    3) The use of lines, texture and color to make a still life more dream like than perfectly realistic.
    Possible Technique’s:
    1) Use of intersecting lines throughout the painting.
    2) Vibrant/bold colors.
    3) Use of shading/color mixing.
    Favorite Painting:
    The last painting in the second video was probably my favorite, because I liked all of the colors that were used in it. I thought it was cool how the fruit really popped against the table cloth, and the flowers popped against the curtains, yet blended with the pitcher.

  22. Things I found interesting:
    1) Use of vibrant colors to make the painting interesting
    2)The fact that a still life–which at least I thought of as a pretty realistic genre–doesn’t have to be totally true to the appearance of the objects as we see them in real life…The colors/shapes/etc. can be manipulated purposely by the artist to convey meaning while still maintaining the essence of the scene
    3)The shadows that occur as a result of how the objects are arranged in relation to each other and in space
    Techniques I want to use
    1) Lines or other shapes that can be used to move parts of objects around in a way that makes the painting interesting
    2) Colors that go well together (choosing objects with this specifically in mind)
    3)Texture to make it more realistic (perhaps to balance the manipulation of the shapes, as well)

    The painting that caught my eye appears at 0:54 in the video (it has flowers, fruit, and a chair in the upper left corner). In general, I prefer his works that not only make use of the vertical line not simply to attract attention (as he explained in the first video) but to deconstruct an object. Many of the painting have one line that goes through a vase or something like that, but I am particularly drawn to this painting because it has two such lines and thus pushes me to consider the essence of two objects (the orange and the pitcher).

  23. Interesting points:
    1. Can control where eyes go with lines and outlines
    2. Can do a lot more than just copy the object realistically, you can outline it or color it in different ways to control how people think about your piece
    3. The work should be engaging and include some of your own creativity, especially in still life (or else people might as well go look at the real thing)

    Interesting techniques:
    1. Outlines to draw attention to objects
    2. painting over already dried colors to add dimension with color
    3. intersecting lines that seem to add dimension by making objects seem to have “folds” (controlling where the eye goes)

    My favorite painting from the second video is at :10, with the light-lavender flowers and their blue leaves, and the oranges, pears, and water melon. The intersecting lines her seem to add dimension to the picture, especially to the table. I liked how he used a white outline for the orange, as opposed to the usual black outline. I noticed that in most of his paintings with flowers, he always has the flowers overlaying the intersecting lines, which I think is to bring attention to the flowers. He also only uses perpendicular and parallel lines…

  24. Interesting points about still lives:
    1) You can use different (and strange) colors to change the way the objects (fruit) look and make the piece look abstract
    2) The cool thing about still lives is that you can contort the shapes without making it look weird or off
    3) Still lives have a lot of freedom: they can be extremely abstract or unbelievably accurate, or a mix!
    techniques from his work
    1) Outlining objects in black
    2) drawing random lines
    3) coloring the objects strangely

    I liked the painting hung behind him during the interview — it showed a blue flower in a vase with petals falling. I really liked the sense of motion created by the falling petals, and the blue color scheme.

  25. Interesting Points:
    1) The bright use of color makes the scene more interesting.
    2) The playfulness of the lines and use of color create a whimsical feeling.
    3)The shadows are painted very dramatically.

    1) I want to use the bright, contrasting colors because I think they are beautiful.
    2) I like how sometimes the paintings are broken up into sections.
    3) The lines are slightly crooked and fun.

    My favorite is the one with the white flowers on the bright blue background with oranges and watermelon on the table. I think the purple of the tablecloth looks lovely with the blue background. It is very pleasing to the eye.

  26. 1. There is a large contrast in colors in this style
    2. The images are not-necessarily objective, so you have to stare at them a while to take it all in.
    3. The objects are not portrayed realistically

    2. I will try to get this color variety and non-objectivity in my art.

    3. My favorite two were the two first paintings of the fruit, because the color contrast was really strong and vibrant. That makes me happy

  27. [3 points about still life painting that you find of interest]
    1. 1) Shadows to make the drawing/painting dramatic and have a presence
    2) The bunch of different styles/types of still life whether it be super realistic or abstract
    3) The use of different shades and brightness of colors to create shadows, shapes, and deeper effects on the objects

    [3 techniques from his work that you will try in your still life painting (color, composition, or style)]
    2. 1) Outlines objects to create a deeper effect
    2) Lots of layers to had depth to the color and painting
    3) Keep it simple but at the same time adding a lot of texture

    [describe in detail the painting you like the best and explain why you like it more than the others.]
    3. I like the lily flower drawing. There were lots of different shades to had depth and shadows to the different objects. Some of the fruit, like most of his other paintings, were open creating yet another texture with the showing of the insides and separation of the outer fruit layer. I also liked the background in how it can of came out of the back and into the front and almost looked like a wavy blue curtains hanging over the scene. Another part I appreciated was slight distortion of the painting but the flowers remained together and the same.
    I don’t know why it stood out more than the other paintings. I think it was because lilies are one of my favorite flowers.

  28. [3 interesting points about still life painting]
    1. The subject matter is nearly always the same (speaking generally, ie. flowers, fruit, etc.), but many different painters are able to take it many different ways.
    2. The set-up of the different elements is very important to the overall feeling of the still life.
    3. The paintings are realistic in the way that they portray the elements being painted, but the colors can be unnaturally bright and intensive.

    [3 techniques from his work you will try]
    1. Looking at his paintings, you can see that up close they aren’t all that elaborate. The fruits are just sort of blobs of color mixed and matched, but when you take a step back and look at the whole piece, it all comes together into a very cohesive painting. It’s important to remember that just because one segment of the painting doesn’t look exactly how you want it to, the entire work itself can still look good, so just look at it from another way.
    2. You can emphasize certain parts of the painting with darker colors or lines.
    3. High contrasting colors can make certain aspects of your painting pop or fade, which you can use to your benefit, but should also be monitored so it doesn’t affect your painting negatively.

    [Favorite painting, why]
    My favorite painting was the one of fruits and flowers on a table with a red curtain draped behind them. It was split into three different paintings, which, when put next to each other, were one cohesive work. I liked it more than the others because it used Angus’s idea of lines to the next degree, in which they actually separated the parts of the painting to emphasize each one’s importance. I also like the balance it had with two different vases of flowers, one on each side of the table.

  29. 1. One thing that is interesting about still life painting is that for some portion of still life painting shadows are used heavily to communicate a theme or mood. Another interesting thing about still life painting is how some artists use an unifying palate while others use contrasting colors. Finally how with in the painting process some choices can seem almost accidental there is a certain way with paint that although it might have been accidental looks like it was done on purpose.
    2. I thought the way he used lines to kind of break up his paintings were interesting and to in his words challenge the viewer. Another interesting technique was how bold his outlines of things were yet they still held a sort of dimension to them. Finally the bold and bright colors he used were really striking and made each and every aspect of his painting stand out.
    3. A painting I thought was really interesting and that was my favorite was the painting with yellow and purple flowers and lemons. In this painting it had Angus Wilson’s customary lines and why i liked this painting the best was how the background was broken up but the foreground was not and it reminded me both of how when you look at something half way submerged in water you get the same effect and also how he communicated this difference or contrast between the background and the foreground.

  30. Interesting points:
    – the overall dreamlike look of his paintings
    – the exaggerated color he uses
    – the way that he distinguishes and uses shadows

    techniques i will try:
    – the strong exaggeration of color
    – a focus on shadows
    – the playfulness he incorporates into lines

    I really like the second painting and the way that it is in three different panels, but he adds in other line on the paintings to create distortion and doesn’t rely on the edges of each panel for that. the way that he uses the red curtain in the background is very interesting to me as well. it brings the other objects forward and draws your attention to them more and also is distorted separately from the other objects.

    • Your comment about his playfulness is so important to remember for this assignment and that is an especially nice assessment of the dynamics of the painting space and how the background color works to push the forms forward.

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