A Simplified Still Life

Going back to the basics and deconstructing a still life is not the easiest thing to do! Often times, artists want to just jump right in and paint every detail that they see. I fall into that trap too and definitely struggle to step away from a painting and simplify it at times.

What I have found in my own work, that it is best to take breaks while painting and slow down my own process by beginning a painting with just the most simple lines and loose blocks of color as a guiding point to frame my composition.

To make it even more challenging, I have been tasked this week in my painting class to paint a still life in only black, white and one middle tone of gray (using equal parts black and white).

To begin the painting, I used a wooden ruler to paint five guiding lines that ended up serving as the planes that I would set my composition on. Following, I began only using black to place my darkest shades on to the canvas, and the moved to gray and finally white.

I think that the results of this painting were not for the purpose of creating this picture perfect product that mirrors the objects that were sitting in front of me, but rather to exercise the use of color and shape and to search for balance between positive and negative space. This exercise is really helpful for artists who struggle to find the relationship between other blocks of shape and color.

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