Monday, April 1, 2024

Expressive Still Lives


3/27/24 Inktense Blocks, Pit Artist Pens in Hahnemuhle sketchbook (photo reference)

In Gal Cohen’s last “Finding Your Unique Line” class, the focus was on still lives. Her presentation was a thumbnail art history lesson ranging from ancient Egyptian paintings to 17th century Dutch realism to Warhol’s pop art. With minimal self-taught education in art history, I appreciated her take on such a variety of styles and approaches to the classic (or not-so-classic) still life.

The first two class exercises (above and below) were drawings in response to still life photo references. The last assignment was to set up and draw a simple still life of three to five objects from our homes. In all three, she encouraged us to try drawing with line first, then coloring, or coloring first, then adding line. She also invited us to play with color without necessarily using the colors we see.

3/27/24 Inktense Blocks (photo reference)

3/27/24 Inktense Blocks, Pilot Juice acrylic markers (from life)

All of these exercises pushed me to avoid my usual relatively tight renderings and find other ways to evoke still lives. I used Derwent Inktense Blocks for all three because their broad, blunt edges will not allow fussy details, and they can be applied almost as quickly as liquid paints.

I had a lot of challenging fun with these, and I’m still processing how I’ve grown from this class. It has certainly opened my mind to the definitions of “drawing” and “expressiveness,” which I plan to continue exploring.


  1. The Inktense Blocks have definitely made it easier to do looser sketches. Nice explorations.

    1. These are not really my style, but I do appreciate what I've learned and hope I can incorporate some of my explorations into my natural style. We'll see how it goes eventually! :-)


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