Monday, February 19, 2018

Still abstractify life

The final exercise of the course, was all about still life. I was uncertain where to begin, because I'm not really a "stuff" person. I wasn't even sure what still life was - did it include furniture, or just things that once lived (ie: flowers in a vase)?

So to satisfy my curiosity, I decided to embark on a few extra projects, to see if I couldn't thoroughly explore the subject matter.

For some reason, I wanted to capture our living area, because it's where we like to do our reading, research and to relax. So I set up the "arrangement", as you're supposed to do, for a still life painting. I knew I was going to remove things (like the red, stability ball) and add extra things - like maybe a traditional piece of fruit?

The first painting I tackled with acrylic...

I call this, "the one I had to get out of my system". Because it was mostly realism, with a vague play with abstract - meaning I simplified the shapes. I liked it, but I knew it was a little vanilla, as well. So I made another attempt.

This time I wanted to exploit the space, which so intrigued me, between the couch and the bookcase.

I set it up, so I could work on two pieces at the same time. Just because I wanted to see how far I could push the same living space, arrangement. But as often happens (to me anyway) I had to rescue the one on the right - it had too much charcoal, and became the dark abyss. So I covered it with white gesso, to start again.

I quite liked it at this stage. It was rough and not too precious. But I had an idea I wanted to exploit, which meant I had to add to it again. This piece eventually became, quite the "mixed media" project.

I ended up using, acrylic paints, charcoal, inktense pencils and collage (bookcase and book spine). The reason I chose this particular arrangement, was to make a feature of that space between the couch and bookcase, in the first painting. To do that, I used a lot of angles - like arrows, to point towards it.

Yet there is nothing so obvious, as a glaring arrow in sight. It merely encourages the eye, to slide down the side of the bookcase, with the glass and apple, to where the lamp is emerging, but pretending not to notice. There is no obvious gap between the bookcase and couch, any more, but I insinuate there is. Because in alignment with that sweet, invisible spot, is the unopened book, waiting to be read.

So that was my idea, in a nutshell.

The other piece I worked on, while waiting for the gesso to dry on the other, was very simple in comparison. Also inspired by the original painting, I wanted to extend the couch, to look like it was ready to embrace you.

The apple from the original painting, became the wallpaper. No books this time. It was just a little Inktense pencil, play - and everything a living space should be. Welcoming.

Then just to stick to convention, I decided to set-up a traditional "still life" arrangement. This little blue medical bottle, and shells, normally reside in our bathroom. They had to be temporarily relocated to my studio, however, in order to pose for my still life.

Out came the Inktense pencils again...

I probably could have played with it some more, but wanted to keep it simple. What I've learned with Inktense pencils is, you need very little, and you want to keep your colours clean. The more you layer them, the more muddy they become. Which is fine, if that's the look you're going for. But I wanted vivid colours, in this case.

So with that, the course ends. But the journey of creating, doesn't! I may take a break for a little while, to begin some sewing projects I've been meaning to. I've got some kid's birthday presents to plan for, in the next 3 months. But I will definitely return to the studio again.

Until next time...enjoy your creative journey, wherever it leads you!


  1. You seem to have achieved something useful for yourself by doing the course and that's the main thing. All we have to do is like and be happy with our creations. Of, course, if others like them too, that's an extra bonus :-)

    1. This is so true. Learning to appreciate what you do, is what gives the confidence to keep going. The more you can practice, the better you can get - to hopefully reach the point, it will resonate with others too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  2. You have definitely loosened up quite alot during this session. I loved the bookshelf composition the most out of this set. I think its one worth delving into much more and I hope you dont abandon abstract art. But congratulations on all of this body of work. I know it was intense! Btw, I cant see a subscribe button anywhere on this blog. I didnt realize you posted any updates. I suppose I should work on my link list?lol.

    1. It was intense! So much so, I needed to take a step back afterwards, to reabsorb everything. I plan to redo a lot of the exercises, because it takes practice, practice, practice, for something to feel natural. Thanks for the feedback on my progression of works. I did feel like I'd changed, somewhat, but it certainly needs more refining. Practice, practice, practice! ;)

      Thanks for the reminder on the subscribe button. I was thinking about that just recently! I will get onto doing it today. :)