Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Still Life Stand

"One always starts work with the subject, no matter how tenuous it is, and one constructs an artificial structure by which one can trap the reality of the subject-matter that one has started from."
                                                                                                            ~ Francis Bacon

My still life painting set-up in action.

Other artists' studios are endlessly fascinating to me. How do they store their supplies? How is their painting area set up? What color do they paint the walls? What kind of lights do they use? I've spent many hours reading through blogs and articles getting inspiration for my own studio, so I thought I'd share a new still life set up I put together in my studio in the hopes that someone out there might find it interesting/helpful.

Up to this point, I've been using a desk near my easel to place my still-life arrangements on, so I've been stuck with my still life models always being at one height. I've seen many artists using stands with adjustable heights for their still life compositions and I've wanted to build one myself. I'd already worked with a tripod stand on my DIY pochade box, so I planned on using the same idea for the still life set up, but then my ever-practical husband pointed out that in this case I didn't need to be able to tilt the top of the tripod head (unless I wanted everything to slide off and crash to the floor. Could be handy when I get frustrated with a painting...), but I would need something pretty sturdy to be able to hold up the weight of my still life items and the supporting board. He suggested I use a speaker stand instead of a tripod since it would be strong enough to support the weight and would have adjustable height, but wouldn't cost as much as a heavy-duty tripod with all the bells and whistles. Brilliant!

So he found this baby* for me online for under $50. It can hold up to 100 lbs. and extends more than 6 feet tall. The supporting board is bolted to the head of the stand for stability (especially with a cat about the place. She hasn't tried to jump up onto the platform yet, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time.) Then I made a basic shadowbox out of foam core to sit on top of the board and control the lighting on the still life objects. 

Get into trouble? Who me?

I'm really delighted with this set-up and have been putting in many hours at the easel.

*This is NOT a paid endorsement (although if the company wants to throw some money at me for this post, I wouldn't complain...), but if you are interested, the stand is a PylePro PSTND1.

Monday, March 07, 2016

More Florals

“It is the hours, the tenacity, the work, the hanging in and doing again and again just to understand some technique.”
                                                                                          ~ Daniela Andersen

10" x 8" oil on canvas paper.

We had friends over for dinner Saturday night and they brought us a beautiful bouquet of tulips as a hostess gift. Having had pretty good luck painting orchids, I decided to give the tulips a try. I seem to be going through a floral phase. Could it be that I'm craving Spring? 

The painting is in my usual palette of alizarin crimson, ultramarine blue, azo yellow and titanium white.

One of the reasons I like painting still lifes is because my subjects won't move the way an animal or bird would. However, these tulips definitely moved during the four hours I painted them. The blooms on the far left side of the set-up didn't move much because they were already closest to the light, but all the other tulips were steadily leaning more and more towards my light source. 

Last Fall I planted daffodils, and I've been anxiously scanning the ground for the first signs of growth, but nothing yet (except early weeds). Hopefully the daffodils made it through the winter. Of course I can get store-bought daffodils to paint, but it would be wonderful to paint flowers from my own garden.