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  • Still Life Techniques
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Still Life - Painting the Background and Foreground

  • Slide Show
 
 
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This lesson explains and illustrates the step by step process of painting the background and foreground of a still life with transparent glazes of color.

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 1

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 1

It is most practical to paint the background first.

  • Once you have finished drawing a still life, the background is usually the first thing you should paint.
  • It is more practical to paint the objects in order from back to front, as it is technically easier to paint the edge of any object over the preceding one.

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 2

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 2

Underpaint the background and foreground with flat colors.

  • Start the background and foreground by underpainting both with flat areas of color, taking care to slightly overlap the edges of all the adjacent still life objects.

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 3

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 3

Apply the first layer of dark tone with a thin glaze of transparent color.

  • Apply the first layer of dark tone using a thin glaze of transparent color, stippled and blended with a soft sable brush.
  • Take care to ensure that you overlap the edges of any underpainted color as you do not wish to leave any gaps which could be difficult to rectify at a later stage.

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 4

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 4

Build up the tone with additional glazes of color.

  • Build up the intensity of the tone with another thin glaze glaze of color.
  • Use as many glazes of color as you need to reach the depth of tone you desire.
  • The translucent quality that you can achieve by building up thin layers of transparent paint adds a vibrant depth to your tone and color.

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 5

 

Still Life - Painting the Background: Step 5

Unify the background with a final glaze of color

  • Unify the overall tone of the background with a final glaze of color that helps to merge and balance both glazed and unglazed areas.

 

Still Life - Painting the Foreground: Step 1

 

Still Life - Painting the Foreground: Step 1

Apply the first layer of dark tone with a thin glaze of transparent color.

  • Apply the first layer of dark tone to the foreground using a thin transparent glaze of color, stippled and blended with a soft sable brush.
  • Take care to ensure that you overlap the edges of any underpainted color.

 

Still Life - Painting the Foreground: Step 2

 

Still Life - Painting the Foreground: Step 2

Use a white glaze for reflected light.

  • Transparent glazes of color usually have the effect of darkening tones. Sometimes you need to lighten certain areas which require a thin glaze mixed with white for increased opacity.
  • The areas of reflected light in the foreground are painted by building up thin glazes of white.

 

Still Life - Painting the Foreground: Step 3

 

Still Life - Painting the Foreground: Step 3

Unify the foreground with a final glaze of color.

  • Unify the overall tone of the foreground with a final glaze of color that helps to merge and balance both glazed and unglazed areas.

 

Still Life - Painting the Background and Foreground

 

Still Life Painting - The Finished Background and Foreground

Painting of the background and foreground in the finished still life.

  • You can see how much more natural the background and foreground appear when seen in context with the other still life objects.
  • Learning to draw and paint is as much about learning to trust what you see as it is about your technical ability to render it.
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