Still Life As Story

February 29, 2012 § 24 Comments

“Not another still life!” is oft heard or at least thought during formal art training. In the 2nd still life assignment in Drawing II, we covered why working from the still life is so helpful. For example your subject matter doesn’t walk away, you can work on perspective, explore how to depict different types of textures, and control the light source. In addition to all of these technical reasons why still life is so important, we also talked about how objects reflect the age and society in which they were formed and contain story telling potential. Each student started with objects that they already had strong associations with and then used lighting, and layout to help tell their story.

Students will be posting links in the comments section with their drawings.



February 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Each week I have decided to spend some time perusing the art periodicals in our library for some much needed invigoration. This week’s came from Yamini Nayar’s photography featured in the February issue of Art in America. Now, I do respect photography, but I have to admit that I was caught totally off guard by the painterliness and collage quality of this work. Nayar creates sculptures and mini dioramas that she photographs and then disassembles. Check out more of her work here.

Mixing Grays

February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

In painting class this year we are using Painting as a Language as a class text. Despite its priciness, it is a fabulous book that rounds out the discussion of how paintings are made with how paintings mean. It is also filled with interesting journaling and painting exercises. The exercise you see here is a student’s study of creating first a column of grays using ivory black and titanium white on the left and then a column of grays using the complements ultramarine blue and cadmium orange. The student had to mix just to neutralize the gray without veering too much toward one hue or the other. Then they added white to create the lighter values.

This particular combination of complementary colors seemed to work really well at achieving neutral grays. They are ever so slightly cooler than the titanium white and ivory black grays. Other combinations such as viridian and alizarin crimson also worked. It was interesting to see the subtle differences between the chromatic and achromatic grays.

The complementary colors of purple and yellow were not as easy to mix into gray. Does anyone have any pairs of purple and yellow pigments that they mix for grays?

Drawing II Still Life No. 1

February 6, 2012 § 26 Comments

Last semester in Drawing I we finished off the semester with a value study of blocks. The subject matter was simple in order to go into a very thorough study of values. Here is an example of a student’s final project.


This semester in Drawing II we are continuing from where we left off, with very careful observation and comparisons of values, but this time with subject matter of the students’ own choosing. New challenges that surface are working with more complex shapes and textures and translating colored objects into a grayscale value. In the comments section students will be posting links to their assignments.

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