New art lessons coming soon

The Meaning of Still-Life

This is a new course for 2020. The exercises will be posted to our Facebook group from the 1st of the month as well as to our Instagram page.

We hope you will enjoy the exercises. There will be 12 posted over the month. Post as many or as few as you like. Join our Facebook group to take part and share your work. Our group is open to all skill levels and is very friendly and encouraging.

If you enjoy our content and would like to show your support you can donate here.

No expensive supplies needed. Use what you have at home or buy kids craft supplies. These are experimental exercises 👉 pencils, acrylic paints, charcoal, paper, pen and glue.

Exercise 1 

Beginning a simplified still-life. For this exercise we are focusing on putting together a still-life and getting a nice photo to work with. The next exercise we’ll work with some colour.

👉 I gathered up some nice bright objects from my home and took them outside to photograph. Luckily it’s a nice bright day today.
👉 I played around with different arrangements and started taking photos.
👉 I changed up the angles and moved my objects around as I went until I had a picture I was happy with.
👉 I cropped a few of my photos until I was sure I had a stand-out favourite 🤩
👉 lastly I did a quick contour drawing using my photo so I could get familiar with the lines and shapes.
🌈 we’ll use colour for the next exercise.
🎬Here’s a short demo

Exercise 2

Simplified Still-Life in pastel
This is a favourite exercise of mine. I’ve started three paintings in this way which I’ll show you here 🎬
👉 Use your photo from the last exercise as a reference.
👉 Look at the shapes and colours in your photo.
👉 Think about how you can simplify them.
👉 take photos as you go to get distance.
👉 Don’t worry about accuracy— do what feels fun!


Exercise 3

 Copy a still life by Cezanne

👉 I used Cezanne's painting Still Life with a Plaster Cupid, as inspiration.
👉 Cezanne's painting has a lot of different perspectives within it which made it a fun subject to copy.
👉 I focused on these perspectives rather than making an accurate copy.
👉 I used oil pastel which gave a different effect to the original painting.
🎬 Here's the video 👉

Exercise 4

This exercise is all about perspective.
👉 I put together a still life using plants, fruit and a jug. I used a patterned cushion case and draped it over a large book to create a tier effect.
👉 I sat to draw my still life with soft charcoal. I focused on the closest objects first. I didn't sit too far away either.
👉 I then stood and drew the rest of the objects from a higher point of view to create two perspectives in the one drawing.
👉 This is inspired by Cezanne's still life where often the objects and table are drawn from different perspectives.
🎬 Here's the link to the video 👉

Exercise 5

Two-colour still-life sketches
I chose a favourite little potted plant for this. It’s an exercise in playing with colour and some drawing practice. I am using oil pastels here.
👉 choose a subject.
👉 choose two sets of colours.
👉 use the lighter colour as the background then do your sketch over the top with the other colour.
🎬 here’s a short demo

Exercise 6

I used a biro to create a continuous line drawing of a still life.
* I created a still life with three objects.
* I started in the bottom left corner drawing the still life as I observed it, this left the rest of the paper blank.
* I then turned the page 90 degrees, my pen still on the paper, and drew a line from my little drawing in the corner to a drawing just of the ram.
* I turned the paper again another 90 degrees and drew the lemon, keeping my pen on the paper the whole time.
* I continued turning the paper and drawing all three objects over and over.
🎬 Here's the video👉

Exercise 7

Create a semi-abstract still-life collage.
I really love collage these days. It never used to interest me but I think the speed with which you can put something together as well as the limitations mean you create something unique each time.
👉 use a still-life photo as your reference. Feel free to use mine if you want.
👉 look through magazines for the colours that match your photo, or close enough 😊
👉 cut out the basic shapes and stick them down to recreate your image. A glue stick works nicely and isn’t too messy.
👉 Enjoy!
🎬 here’s my short video

Exercise 8

Half-eaten still life

To set up this still life, I arranged fruit that was half eaten and peeled.
👉 I fiddled around until I came up with an arrangement I liked.
👉 Using charcoal I drew my still life.
👉 There were some interesting shapes created by the peel and half eaten apple.

Exercise 9 

Still-life inspired by Matisse
This exercise involves putting your own painting into your drawing. If you don't have one you could put Matisse''s "Dance" in instead.
👉Set up a still-life using a painting and table. I tried to get mine pretty similar to Matisse's.
👉Do a line drawing of your still-life. I went for a line drawing to achieve a simplified drawing.
🎬 here’s my video

Exercise 10 

Distorted still life
👉 For this I chose objects that varied in size.
👉 I then created a contour drawing, placing the objects in different positions and drawing them at different sizes.
👉 I allowed the objects to float on the page and just drew whatever came to me.
🎬 Here's the video 👉

Exercise 11

Still-life with found patterns
The original exercise was from our 31 Days of Creativity ebook which you can find on our website. This one didn’t turn out to be as lovely as that one— but still some time well spend with oil pastels 😁
👉 choose a simple subject.
👉 find three patterns from around your home.
👉 use one pattern each section of your drawing.

Exercise 12

 Still life with soft colours and hard outlines

👉I put together a still life from some of the things I'd created, a sculpture, a painting etc.
👉 I chose chalk pastels to use as they they smudge easily.
👉 I put down the basic colours, not going into the details and then wiped over them with a tissue.
👉 I chose three of the darkest colours I had to draw the outlines. I didn't draw my outlines perfectly over the colours for a more interesting effect.
🎬 Here's the video 👉