Lesson 1

Paul Cezanne still life

Chardin Still life
Chardin Still life
Matisse late still life

Learn from the masters

I said in my last group email that I would be setting some projects that you might like to work on instead of the cancelled life drawing sessions.

Let’s start with some ideas based on the experience of another stay at homeworker who did great things with the stuff around him. The French painter Chardin spent most of his life working on still life groups amidst the rococo frolics of 18th century France. After a long career as a hardly known painter, he became an official at the French Salon and eventually ended up with a royal warrant and a salary that supported his work. He only produced about 400 paintings.

Like Chardin, most people are surrounded by everyday objects. Personally I cannot move for objects. Some are retained for practical reasons. Some are kept as mementoes of others, some because they might be useful and pile up as the debris of modern society.

Select an object as a starting point. If it is valueless, so much the better. You could use some old life drawings, a piece of flint from the garden, a teddy bear with only one eye, some old hats. Anything to hand…..

Make a series of drawings of your chosen object. Then stand back and have a look at what you have done. I would expect the first series to be rather conventional.

Then start on the second series where you explore (simplify or exaggerate) some of the characteristics that attracted you to the things you are drawing in the first place. This is much the way that Cezanne and Matisse both worked though they ended up with very different sorts of images.

Now comes the time when you start to develop your still life as decorative painting, A piece of quilting, A mural on a wall, or a wooden construction made from waste materials.

Group members send me a Jpeg file at 72 dpi and you might get it on the website. Non-members sign up to join and ask to be added to the mailing list. join@lifedrawingstokenchurch.co.uk