Friday, November 29, 2013

Still Life Y Z (and Still Life Reflections)

11/29/13 Platinum Carbon ink, Van Gogh watercolors, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook
For the last in my series of alphabetical still lifes, I used a piece of food that didn’t fit into the casserole pan for last night’s feast and a candle saved from Greg’s birthday party a couple years ago.

Although I have never been much of still life enthusiast, the series I just completed taught me several things:

  • I discovered that I enjoy still lifes after all! Working in a series with rules made it much easier for me to decide what to sketch, which has always been one of my difficulties in following the Danny Gregory Everyday Matters principle of drawing “anything.” I’ll keep this in mind as I do more still lifes in the future: Make rules first to help narrow the field of sketching subjects, and work in series to make selection even easier.
  • Sketching still lifes gave me better practice in watercolor painting than most urban sketches do. On location, I always finish the sketch onsite, and if I have any constraints – bad weather, jostling crowds, distractions, insufficient time – I opt to paint haphazardly or not at all rather than save the painting for more ideal conditions (once I leave the location, the impetus to finish disappears). I learned more about watercolor painting these past few weeks, and I’ll apply what I’ve learned when I sketch in less-than-optimal field conditions.


  1. Your yam looks good enough to eat. Nice, fun sketch. Glad you got to explore the use of watercolors a bit more with these. Somehow I find locations with bright yellows, reds, and lime green. lol

  2. Great comments on urban sketches vs still life. My urban sketches treat color as an afterthought, and generally done in a small fraction of the time spent doing the actual drawing. Maybe I need to do more still lifes. I have all winter, afterall.

    Cheers --- Larry

  3. Very interesting observations. I guess I found the same thing, doing the 50 sketches for NaNoDrawMo as most of them were done at home. When I saw this on flickr, I couldn't figure out what the "z" was but now I understand!


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