Project 2 – Conclusions on still life paintings

Conclusions on Project 2 Still life paintings: 

Reviewing my still life paintings up to today.

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What are the most successful ones and why?

In all four still life I experimented with different approaches. The ‘Bathroom‘ (Still life 1) I worked with loose hand to depict a realistic scene. The ‘Poppies’ still life are building on the concept of refection and mirror enforced by a muted colour perception contrasting with bright colour of objects in front of the mirror (Still life 3).  Here the void of the mirror is key compositional element. From a conceptual point of view I would say that this flower still life is the most successful because of a constant search for tonal values. Still life 4 ‘Tools‘ builds on contrasting elements of objects normally not connected in life that triggers a narrative. The additional blur would add to the overall impression of ambiguity. The painting is somewhere between realistic and expressive.

From an overall and distant perspective I do like the drawing in paint image (still life 1 ‘Bathroom‘) most as I felt here at ease with simple line strokes in various colour to depict form with stronger perception from a distance. However I find it not so easy to clearly say which one is the most successful. Perhaps I need some feedback from others.

Main elements that particularly contributed to the success of this Still life ‘Bathroom‘ are:

This painting works from a distance as the at times expressive strokes vanishes into an overall perception of the image. The simple but contrasting colours makes this painting quite punchy.

Main areas that need further attention, development and practice are:

  • Still life 1 – ‘Bathroom‘: Working on how I could use modulate colour in the background to push brightness further although I think the reddish colour already adds to it into the right direction. The right side of the blue bottle needs more attention.
  • Still life 2 – ‘Poppies‘ horizontal: Re-considering how I could mute colours differently.
  • Still life 3 – ‘Poppies‘ vertical: Re-considering how the colour of the cloth could be modulate to enforce visual perception.
  • Still life 4 – ‘Tools‘: Composition. Pushing more the limits of movement. Re-considering edges. Perhaps making it clearer as realistic or expressive? Though I still like to idea of a painting that moves between two realms.

Revisiting my assignment 1 painting:

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I do think that overall this still life is alright. I was mostly relying on a tonal underdrawing with following mostly transparent layers. Not so much to change. However with the knowledge of colour mixing and contrasts I could have pushed possibly the colour contrasts more. Also I do think that I could have made the left side a but more blurred to keep focus.

Conclusions:

Revisiting my still life paintings made me more aware about what I like to work on what not. I prefer to make works that are at the edge of visual perception. A constant switch between sharp and blur, in front and behind (still life 2,3), multi layers. Also I do see the appeal of paintings that work with distance: a close view with seeing abstract strokes and a far away view with a more holistic perception (still life 1). I would like to embed a sense of visual movement (like still life 4) and ambiguous interpretation. I find that investing time in finding correct tonal values and colour matches is worthwhile alongside a more painterly approach with expressive strokes and contrasts that would make a painting more appealing.

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