Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ten tips for setting up still life

During our first Still Life in Watercolor class last week at ARThouse, we went around taking photos of the still lifes I had set up.  Actually, I only got out a lot of "props" and the students did most of the set-ups!  We used bright lights, mostly halogen, coming in from the side, or used natural lighting from a window. 

Here are 10 tips for setting up still life:
  1. Choose objects that make sense together.
  2. Have objects of different sizes and heights.
  3. Have one object that is more dominant.
  4. Arrange the objects so most of them overlap to varying degrees, but have at least one object separate.
  5. Objects can bleed off the edge of the view, as long as they are not the only object of that type.
  6. Try some color coordination.
  7. Have side lighting, mostly from one direction.
  8. Or use natural lighting such as in a window.  Do not use flash!!
  9. Try to get some interesting shadow shapes happening.
  10. You can set the still life on a piece of glass to get some nice reflections.
Below are some of the photographs that were taken by me and other students (Barbara McCool, Betsy Thomas, and Nancy Preuss).  If you click on an image, all the images will open up in a separate window and all you to view them much larger.  You can then right-click on an image and save it to a folder in your computer.  Please feel free to use any of these pictures for your still life paintings!

1 comment:

  1. So which of the still life photos above inspires you most for a painting? In next week's class, we are going to study the painting of shiny objects, such as the little silver creamer, the container of kitchen utensils, and the Japanese bowl on piece of glass.