Friday, 25 November 2011

Still Life Musings

These past few days I've been pondering on what I'll be drawing next.  If you're a reader of this blog before I had my rather long break, or my 'sabbatical' as I like to call it (sounds better!), you may remember a rather traumatic post about my pc crashing out last year.  I didn't have sufficient data back-up and ultimately lost almost all of my own photo references which were to form the basis of future drawings. 

I'm in the process of re-building my reference bank, taking new photos of all and sundry, but especially playing around with new still-life set ups.  It's been a little frustrating because I'm very pernickety, the lighting has to be 'right', the subject matter has to be 'right', the set up, and so on.  Setting up still-lifes of your own takes a lot of time, skill and imagination if they are to be the basis for successful artwork, I think. 

Many still-life artists, those who work from their own set-ups, will share their painting process on their blogs but not many of them describe how they came to choose their initial set-up, their thought processes about what objects to include and so on.  I think that the setting-up process itself is as important, time-consuming and skillful, as the production of the artwork created from it.  I know there are certain artistic conventions when it comes to colour, composition, positioning of objects which are understood by those 'in the know', trained professionals and the like.  I'd just like to see personal set-up choices being described more often, I think they deserve a mention.

So what prompted me to raise this?  Whilst browsing around art blogs, I came across some still-life artwork which really made me sit up and drool!  Some readers may already be familiar with Abbey Ryan's work, especially in the US, but she's new to me!  She paints directly from life, usually quite small pieces and pretty quickly too.  What I love about her work is its simplicity, bold realism and ..... well everything really! Obviously personal taste comes into this and it's not everybody's cup of tea but, for me, she has a very modern take on what is essentially traditional, classic still-life painting.  Truly beautiful work.  There are videos of Abbey on her site painting 'live' but I'd love to know more about how she sets up her 'objects', decides on composition, lighting and so on.  Aren't I demanding?  And cheeky!  As if the artwork's not enough, hehe.  Maybe I'll ask her.

Here are a couple of kitty pics to keep you going until I endeavour to begin another piece of artwork of my own ...

Here's Minnie daring to sit in Bobby's box!  She sat like that staring at me spookily for a good ten minutes.  Very unnerving.  There was no way she was going to fit into that box lying down like Bobby, now was she?

And here she is again, in her favourite place this time ...



sue said...

Thanks for the 'introduction' Janet ... her work is very inspiring and beautiful. One day ... when I'm not dependent on commission work !!!

and I love your cats - but I think Minnie is having one of those introspective 'cat' moments rather than staring at you??? I'm not sure I'd really want to know what cats think about 'people' except they envy our ability to open cans of catfood!

Janet Pantry said...

Lol, Sue! Yes, Minnie does this quite often ~ it's like a Yoga pose! I think you're right, definitely a 'cat moment' :>)

Kyla Marie Hynes said...

cute cats :)


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