I really struggle with still life painting. I feel my best still life efforts are those in which I invent an arrangement to suit a particular mood or abstract design. In the still life below that is what I did – after painting many bottles in such arrangements from life, I sketched a few imaginary thumbnails and then just painted one I liked.
The drawing and perspective is not very realistic, but it more or less matched the mood I was after. Some late afternoon perhaps, in an empty apartment, when it becomes apparent that the hope you had was hope for the wrong thing. And yet, there is this moment right here, nothing lacking, perfect as it is.
The images below show some watercolours that were painted from life. You may agree they do not convey the same sense of mood as the top one? In any event, I humbly admit that I still have many square miles of canvas/paper to paint before I even approach the foothills of mastery.
For me still life is one of the most difficult painting genres. Unlike a landscape, in which the particulars can be easily generalized and modified to match a mood or emotion, the still life seems to always sit too vividly in front of me, and it somehow freaks me out enough to keep me away from trying it.
The road to mastery in painting – or anything perhaps – clearly goes up all the way!
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?Yes, to the very end.Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?From morn to night, my friend.But is there for the night a resting-place?A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.May not the darkness hide it from my face?You cannot miss that inn.excerpt from “Up-Hill” by Christina Rossetti