Do you know what ‘still life’ painting is about?

By Yasodhara Pathanjali


Happy Sunday everyone! How are you doing this week? What kind of week have you had? Was it exciting? Quiet? Fun? Productive? We’ve had a busy week doing some construction work at home. Anuradha, Indumathi, and I have been fixing walls and sanding them down, getting the walls ready for painting. It’s been a lot of hard work, but we’ve had so much fun doing it. 

Last week we talked about how to bring texture into your drawings; about how to notice the different kinds of textures that we have all around us. Did you try it out? Did you have fun? 

As over the last few weeks we have talked a lot about colours, feelings, textures, and how we can look at objects in different ways, today let’s talk about “still life”. Do you know what “still life” painting is about? Still life is where you take a small, or large, collection of objects, put them together to create your scene, and then draw from that. 

In the old days, fruits together on a table or flowers in a vase were very popular ideas for still life drawings. But it doesn’t have to be those things. You can take anything, as long as it’s not a living thing, and create a still life drawing – your water bottle, a few books, the contents of your bag, kitchen utensils, etc.; anything that you choose. 

Once you have chosen your items to draw, arrange them in an interesting way in front of you. Try out a few different ways to see which best suits you. Arrange it so that there are some things in front, some behind, some piled up, etc. This creates depth to the drawing rather than keeping it all in one row. But having said that, a neat row could also be really interesting. So as I said, try it out and see. 

Before you start drawing, spend a little time looking at your arrangement. Think about where there may be light or shadow; about the textures of the objects; about little details that you may have not noticed before. Once you’ve had a really good look and explored it all, you are ready to start. 

Now, mark the sizes and the vague shapes and the positions on your paper. This will help you keep it in proportion. Then slowly build up the details. Remember again – it isn’t about making the drawing look like a photograph of the objects but it is more your own interpretation of what you see there. 

Have a go and share the drawings with me on my email Join us next Friday at 3 p.m. on The Sunday Morning Little Stars Facebook page (@littlestars) to see how Anuradha, Indumathi, and I do in this exercise. I’m sure that we will come up with all kinds of funny things.