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The Importance of Still Life Painting

Many students find still life painting dull, probably because they resent the discipline entailed and are unable to sustain their interest.

And there are art educators who claim that drawing and/or painting still life is just a mechanical exercise that cannot be conducive to expressive (and truly artistic) art.

But if you study the masters, both classic and modern, you will notice that many of their most important works are still life paintings.

Look at masterpieces of portraiture in which still life accessories are employed, and see how important they are to the painting.

Still life painting is a complete and fascinating subject in itself, but it is also an excellent exercise for the beginner students who are getting ready to start painting outdoors.

Many of the problems that arise when painting landscapes can be solved by still life practice.

Along with improving your knowledge of drawing, you learn the mixing and handling of your paint and brushes.

Every type of texture can be studied by a careful selection of the objects to be painted. Silk, with its hard, shining lights, and the heavy, dull, absorbent quality of velvet can be observed as they form the draped background of your subject.

Common kitchen objects contain a wealth of shapes and textures to be captured on canvas.

Flowers, fruit, and vegetables abound with both obvious and subtle color.

Books, lamps, furniture... everything found in your home can be incorporated into leasing subjects.

You can create your own compositions, lighting effects, and arrangements of color.

The important thing is that all these vital ingredients of successful painting can be studied and solved leisurely.

Then, when you paint outdoors and the effects are fleeting, you will be better prepared to cope with them, having had some technical experience.

Articles on Still Life Painting Techniques:

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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