Non-traditional still life - thinking through ideas

Blues, mixed media still life, 8,5 x 11 inches, Vivien Blackburn,
media: watercolour, oil pastel, caran d'ache neocolor II

The group of friends I meet up with once a month are doing a still life project. We've set ourselves this task to take ourselves out of our comfort zone and make us all try something different. Each has their own particular interests in subject matter - which doesn't really include still life. It was my idea ........ will I live to regret it?

We'll all be looking at it with our own particular viewpoint/angle/ideas. I'm working out what approach I'm going to take,

I don't want to do traditional set ups as they don't 'grab' me to do. I do like the way some contemporary artists play with the patterns, shapes and colours and that's the way it will interest me. This is my start on the project - ongoing work to be shown at next month's meeting.

There is more variety of blue in real life.

I've taken the patterns from vases and woven them across other objects, let shapes melt into each other and mixed pattern flowers with a real one.

I think this could definitely lead into further works in watercolour on a large scale, oils on canvas or watercolour and pastel on a fairly large scale.

(still ongoing are other projects: the local landscape and of course the coast,
then on slooow burn is the waterways project, a part of the local landscape project)

I'm getting interested in this still life project now .......

what do you think?

previous still life bits and pieces, studies and paintings

Just a few artists you may find worth looking at, who paint contemporary still lifes:

Elaine Pamphilon

Anji Allen I love the simplicity and layering of these

William Selby

Shirley Trevena - glorious colour and pattern and liveliness

Nicole Caulfield - I love her paper bags and red shoes

Paul Wright
- loose loose brushstrokes

John Brown

Elizabeth Blackadder

Janice Gray

Mary Fedden


my croft said…
ooh! I really like this. kind of fragmenteed, quietly surreal, but still engaging. I bolted from a drawing class ages ago because I could not face another of those deadly set-ups: some kind of vessel, some kind of fluffy thing (like a branch or a spray of flowers), and something with definite shape and contour (like a lemon) -- a cup, a clump, and a lump. But I really really like this.
Sarah said…
an interesting lot of artists there, I think you might like Elaine Pamphilon too.
Go big Viv, big watercolours are so liberating!
vivien said…
Sarah yes I do like Elaine Pamphilon's work and I didn't think of her - I'll add her now. Thanks

And yes big is liberating (but scary in watercolour for me! I rarely work really large in watercolour but should)

Oh what a wonderful phrase! 'a cup, a clump, a lump' so true!!!!

I feel exactly the same about those set ups - they just don't 'get' me. Or I don't 'get' them.
Hillary said…
Please can I use your idea? I think it's such a good one that I would like to ask some friends near me to give it a go. I love your work and find it inspirational.
vivien said…
Thanks Hilary - show them the work of the artists I've listed :>)

I'd rather they didn't simply copy mine - but the idea of working this way is open to all :>) and I'm sure that's what you mean. You've experimented with some interesting ideas on your blog.
vivien said…
PS Hillary - come back and leave a link if you blog about your experiments?

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