Do you have any tips for painting a still life practice piece?
Geneviève Harquin, France
Answer Sara replies
I’d always recommend setting some time aside for a still life painting session. You’ll learn realistic rendering techniques, meaning you can paint credible details and create a more intricate illustration. It’s also useful to keep your eye trained to capture colours, shades, proportions and to learn how to paint inanimate object like fruit, cloth, and glass and metal objects.
For this article I put together a composition using the glassware, a jug, a wine glass and an ornamental glass. I place them on a white table cloth, close to a source of natural light (in this case a window), so that the way the light interacts with the glass is obvious. Before starting the painting I take a photo: sunlight changes its position and colour during different times of the day, so it’s better to keep a reference image because the work can take a long time.
Since my purpose is to portray a still life composition, I don’t worry about the background. I simply sketch some lines to outline perspective and table top, bearing in mind that its colour will affect the lights and shadows of the scene.
When I practise, I choose to portray materials such as glass, to bridge the technical gaps in my knowledge. To get the most from your still life session, ensure your light source hits prominent objects in the composition.