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Recent Still Lifes

When we have no model in the studio my students and I paint still lifes. I tell them to bring objects they find beautiful, inspiring or just have happy memories for them. I paint or draw alongside my students so that they can watch me and learn while they work on their own picture. Here are a few of my paintings of objects the students have brought in.

Conch, 2016, oil on canvas, 41 x 46cm

This conch came home from a trip to the West Indies but as it smelled really awful, my student had to leave it outside her home for several months to let the stench dissipate before it could be brought in to decorate the house. She now has the souvenir and a (very accomplished) painting of the souvenir.

Green Jug, 2016, oil on canvas, 51 x 41cm

These simply but strikingly arranged sedums and jug were brought in by a student who has an elegant eye for interior design. To capture this image we painted the sedums pretty quickly – most cut flowers tend to wilt or fluff up after just a few hours – hence the loose handling in the painting.

Pears, 2015, oil on board, 20 x 30cm

These organic pears lack the uniformity of colour, shape and size to conform to the ideals of most supermarkets but they looked more interesting with their little blemishes.

A tip when painting still life – stick to an odd number of items in the composition e.g. one apple, three apples, five pears. Even numbers do not work well.


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