Still Life is a genre that suffers from bad naming. It leads people to think of it as a quiet and sedate kind of art – even a little boring. Unfortunately, a lot of still life paintings fulfill those expectations.
I suppose what we call it in English is better than what the French call it – Nature Morte – literally, “Dead Nature”. Hopefully my French-speaking friends will forgive me when I say it’s hardly an inspiring label. At least in English, we have the word “Life” as part of what we call these types of paintings. I like to emphasize that part of the name, because a good Still Life can be full of movement and energy.
That is what I was aiming for in this painting – movement and energy. I arranged the knife and spoon inside the creamer in such a way that they formed a strong circular motion with the lemon on top of the jar of honey. This visual flow was so clear that I could almost imagine the lemon leaping from the knife to the spoon to the jar and so on – from one springboard to the next.
By thinking of it this way, the composition took on an athletic energy in my imagination, and suddenly this Still Life didn’t seem quite so still.
The Technical Side
“Springboards” was done entirely from life (without use of photography). It is painted with oil on linen, which is mounted to a hardboard panel. The dimensions are 11×14 inches (28×35 cm). I worked with a straight-forward grisaille (black and white) underpainting. This was followed by a mixture of opaque paints and glazes on top of the underpainting.
Here are a few shots demonstrating the basic process for starting one of my paintings. With a solid drawing and underpainting in place, the final color layer goes quickly and accurately.
If you’re interested in adding “Springboards” to your collection, send me a message using the “Connect with Me” section on the sidebar to the right. Please bookmark my blog and watch for posts about this coming week’s painting.