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Why do artists always paint bowls of fruit?

Because painting a still life is an excellent way to begin painting from real life. A still life allows you to control the compositionwhat is included and how it is arranged. You control the light source. You can take as much time as you need because a still life stays still! MAX2 Oil Paints are brilliant, buttery oil paints. Unlike most oil paints, MAX2 Oils clean up with soap and water. This makes them perfect paints for intermediate and adult painters alike. Please see "Tips on using MAX2 Oil Colors" at the end of this lesson.

You will need:


scratch paper Paper Mate pencil canvaspaper or prepared canvasboard charcoal MAX2 Oil Paintsintroductory 6 paint set (Burnt Sienna, Ultra Blue, Grumbacher Red, Raw Umber, Titan White, Cad Yellow Pale) Brushes: size 4 or 6 in round and "bright" shapes are good for starters palette and palette knife variety of objects and a light source for still life

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

Step 1: Gather objects for your still life


A still life can be composed of any inanimate object that will fit on your tabletop. Collect a variety of objects from around your house or classroom. Include simple but interesting forms. Vases, cans, balls, or kitchen utensils can be interesting. Consider shells, flowers, driftwood, pinecones, stones or other things from nature. Fruit and vegetables come in many different forms and colors. A piece of draped fabric can add interesting textures and shadows. Search your kitchen. Raid your junk drawers. Have fun collecting!
A beginner should choose objects that are simple forms with straightforward textures. Avoid complicated patterned surfaces or complex shapes.

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

Step 2: Set up your still life


Arrange four or five objects in different ways until you have a composition you like. You may have a theme in mind or just enjoy the interesting jumble of unrelated objects. Overlapping the objects will provide depth. Think about how the colors work together. Placing a light object in front of a dark object will provide contrast. Bright colors draw your eyewhere is your focal point? Try to create a still life that is balanced and suggests unity.

This composition is unbalanced and lacks depth.

This composition is balanced, unified and shows good contrast and depth. The mushroom candle provides a nice focal point.

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

Step 3: Set up a light source


Shine a light on the objects. Natural light will change too quickly. Experiment with aiming your light at different angles to make interesting shadows.

This composition is balanced, unified and shows good contrast and depth. The mushroom candle provides a nice focal point.

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

Step 4: Practice sketching the composition


Use your Paper Mate pencil and scratch paper to sketch the basic shapesdon't worry about shading yet. Do you like the composition? Move the objects around until you are satisfied. Sketch it again with a Paper Mate pencil, if you like.

Step 5: Sketch on your canvas


When you are ready to paint, use charcoal to lightly sketch the outlines of the objects on your canvaspaper or canvasboard. You can easily wipe away charcoal to make changes.

This composition is unbalanced and lacks depth.

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

Step 6: Paint an undercoat of color


Begin painting with your larger brushes. Paint flat, sketchy shapes of color. Keep the edges soft at first. Lay in all the colors before finishing any one object. Feel free to change your background color to one that works well with your composition. Don't worry about the details at first. Don't get hung up on making the colors exactly the same hue as the objectjust keep them fresh and bright.

This composition is unbalanced and lacks depth.

Step 7: Build the forms and play with the colors


Now begin building the forms of your objects and playing with the color relationships. Soften or sharpen edges. Paint the forms in light and dark values. Build up or reduce the hue intensity to give more or less depth. Colors change depending on their neighbors. Do the right objects stand out and recede? Think about your background color againdoes it still work? Does your focal point draw your eye? Does your painting seem unified?

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

Step 8: Add textures


Think about the surfaces of the objects of your still life. Are they shiny, soft, hard, rough, silky or smooth? Think about how to create these textures with your brush. Try thicker or thinner amounts of paint. Smooth out brushstrokes or make them rough. The direction of your brushstroke can emphasize the form: straight strokes for flat surfaces, curves brushwork for round objects. Light and dark values of color can represent the way surfaces catch the light. Even your background should show some color variations rather than a flat expanse of color. Begin to add the surface details of your objects.

Step 9: Add cast shadows


Let your painting dry for a day. Now observe the way the objects cast shadow on the table. Which direction are they? How dense are they? What color are they? Paint cast shadows carefullydon't let them overpower the objects of your still life.

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

Step 10: Add highlights


Finally, add some highlights to your painted objects. This if often a dab or two of the lightest value of the object's color. The highlight may also reflect colors from a neighboring object. Think about the way the object's surface reflectsshiny objects have obvious highlights but soft or dull objects have very subtle highlights.

Step 11: Finishing touches


Finish the final details. Step away for awhile and return with a fresh eye. Anything need more attention? Ask a friend to give a look. Make any last changes. Then you are done! Clean your palette, palette knife and brushes with soap and water. Allow your painting to dry at least a week. Your painting can be coated with Damar varnish after curing 6-12 months.

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford

TIPS on using MAX2 Oil Colors:


Treat like traditional oil paints, except use water in place of turpentine for thinning and clean up. Use Max brushes, or standard oil/acrylic brushes. Size 4 or 6 in round and "bright" shapes are good for starters. Paint on primed canvas, wood, or canvas paper. Never mix oil paints with acrylic paints or mediums. Can be mixed with traditional oil colors and mediums. To maintain soap and water clean up, use no more that one part of these to two parts MAX2. Clean brushes and surfaces with water and Grumbacher Brush Soap. When painting is dry and has been cured for 6-12 months, coat with Damar varnish.

Other still life ideas:


Create a still life with a theme (your hobby, a sport, a favorite place, an event ...) Paint a monochromatic still life (use only one color plus white and black) Paint a still life using only complementary colors (red and green, blue and orange or violet and yellow) Paint a still life using only analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel) Create a still life using a completely different media

A Lifetime of Color www.sanfordcorp.com/artedventures 2004 Sanford