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Still Life is a Still life in paint
Over the next few months a series of ‘still life paintings’ will be offered for sale. This follows on from my successful participation in a (private / invited) exhibition that was held earlier on this year in Rugby.
I have been inspired to paint, people have excited me and non-verbally encouraged me. I saw a painting by Renoir entitled ‘Onions’ at the Royal academy a few years ago…
Onions, 1881 is a painting of just six plain onions and some garlic and is a remarkable sensuous still life, their papery skins explode with colour and shape, making something from the ordinary magical and interesting. The lack of content and minimal subject matter belies the exuberant and controlled, skillfully executed gem. I wish I had painted it. Read more…
A Still Life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, dead animals, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewellery, coins, pipes, and so on). With origins in the Middle Ages and Ancient Graeco-Roman art, still-life painting emerged as a distinct genre and professional specialisation in Western painting by the late 16th century, and has remained significant since then. Still life gives the artist more freedom in the arrangement of elements within a composition than do paintings of other types of subjects such as landscape or portraiture. Early still-life paintings, particularly before 1700, often contained religious and allegorical symbolism relating to the objects depicted. Some modern still life breaks the two-dimensional barrier and employs three-dimensional mixed media, and uses found objects, photography, computer graphics, as well as video and sound.
The painting above was painted around 2002 / 03 by Peter Bright (more)
I love Prussian Blue because of this myth – not because I like the colour
Prussian Blue has got to be the best colour in the world, a colour that allegedly Paul Gaugin borrowed from Emile Bernard to paint his ‘Vision After The Sermon’. His Impressionist palette didn’t contain this glorious hue.
Looking back at old paintings you have done in the past is like looking at old photographs
Vision after the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel) is an oil painting by French artist Paul Gauguin in 1888. It is now in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. It depicts a scene from The Bible, where Jacob wrestles an angel. A vision or hallucination that the Breton women experience after a sermon in church. Painted in Pont-Aven, Brittany, France – the inherent spiritality of subjects in this painting, the influence of the cloisonnist style, all point towards a great painting and a break through in 19th century art.
This is one of those paintings I needed to see – it was an important turning point in art history. The bold use of colour was deep rooted and part of the bedrock of the Synthetist style of modern art – an extension of the pioneering vision of other artist including Emile Bernard.
A few years ago (4) I did a series of paintings that were shown at Broomhill Art Hotel, this series was called “Deep Water”. I managed to sell quite a few of these.
I have had to go and check my storage unit out and found (I had forgotten about them) three that were not exhibited in the 2010 exhibition (one is in the photograph, in the frame). I also found several unfinished canvases that I had started and never finished from the same year.
I have always preferred to work outside – it is a beautiful day so…..let’s finish the little buggers.
I have always loved the drawings of Degas. The way he portrayed women, sensually and simply is to be admired.
In the late 1880s, Degas also developed a passion for photography and this new skill influenced the composition of his paintings. He photographed many of his friends, often by lamplight, as in his double portrait of Renoir and Mallarmê. Other photographs, depicting dancers and nudes, which were used as source material for some of Degas’s drawings and paintings.
As the years passed, Degas became isolated, due in part to his belief that a painter could have no personal life. The Dreyfus Affair controversy brought his anti-Semitic leanings to the fore and he broke with all his Jewish friends. His argumentative nature was deplored by Renoir, who said of him: “What a creature he was, that Degas! All his friends had to leave him; I was one of the last to go, but even I couldn’t stay till the end.”
Still life painting is something that I have grown into and I am inspired, not by the great masters like, Caravaggio who applied his form of naturalism to still life, but photographs.
Using the camera to – set the composition, the precise aspect ratio, depth of field, the distance – is a great tool. I then use these images in conjunction with the real observed objects.
The photograph above was taken using a Pentax Espio 120mi, which I obtained from a charity shop for £1.50. I used Ilford HP5 Plus a 35mm black and white film. More on HP5 here?
The quality of point and shoot 35mm film cameras is rather poor if you compare them to modern digital SLRs but…
The warm quality and retro feel of the images are perfect for my paintings.
The Pentax Espio 120mi is point-and-shoot, mid-range, 35mm film camera (also called a compact camera) and is a still camera designed for simplicity. The Espio is an autofocus unit, having automatic exposure settings options and a built in flash unit.
Design initiatives make this a small and flexible camera – notably the physical size and overall quality of finish make this camera a stylish baby. It houses a good quality zoom lens (38-120mm), with plenty of features that enable a variety of picture taking settings.
The focus and exposure system on this easy to use camera is an improvement on earlier Pentax compacts, giving sharp results and a decent contrast of tones. One of the most useful applications available on this model is ‘backlight compensation’ setting, which enables you to take a photograph using natural light in the background and flash in the foreground, giving an even tone across the image. Panorama mode is included in this little package which gives a different aspect ratio from most other cameras.
Caravaggio‘s Basket of Fruit (c. 1595–1600) is one of the first examples of -pure still life, precisely rendered and set at eye level.