Building a shadow box
Shadow boxes are useful constructs that artists have employed for centuries to control the light on their still life models. They can range from the simple to the complex. The best artist I personally know tapes pieces of foam core together into flimsy tents that look like they’re ready to collapse onto the model. It doesn’t look like much, but the resulting paintings are gorgeous.
I opted for a sturdier and more permanent shadow box. Starting with an outer frame of 1×2 and 1×3 strips of pine, I constructed a cube, to which I screwed 24″ square sheets of plywood.
The interior cage is painted a flat black. This cuts down on reflected light, as well as obviously providing a deep, deep background from which the objects can emerge.
The bottom has been designed to accomodate another 24″ square sheet, so I can easilly drop in any stained or painted piece of wood I like to instantly change the surface. I can also suspend cloths to make a backdrop.
When objects are placed in the box, the resulting effect can be dramatic. This is a new addition to my studio; I’ve only done one painting using it so far; one of the tomato pair paintings. It is a lot of fun to use, and I can’t wait to do some more.