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Starting a still life

In my open tutorial with Janice a few weeks ago, we discussed how I might practice painting with thicker strokes. This is something I have been struggling with, which is why I approached her with the topic. In her view, the thinner application of paint is part of my style and isn’t something I should let go of, but she agreed that it could be worth pushing myself the other way so as to expand my painting vocabulary.

She recommended working on a smaller scale with only thick brushes so as to force myself to utilise thick paint. I like this approach as it essentially tricks me into doing something I’m inclined not to. And I’ve notice that with the larger painting I’m working on right now, it’s a lot easier to have thick strokes when working on a small area (the dogs fur, for example).

Since I’m not using smaller brushes, this also means I can’t go back in to blend and correct Janice therefore recommended working on something simple and easily recognisable - a still life. I’ve wanted to work on a still life for a while anyway now, since I’ve not done it since high school and I remember it being very good at playing with texture. At the time, I was working in acrylic which I find easier to use thickly as well, though I ultimately find the drying time and inability to reactive the paint really frustrating.

I've been looking at Cezanne's still lives. I love how bold the strokes are and how he intensifies the contrast. I particularly like the ones that are more zoomed in, as they feel more intimate, as if you could grab them.

Here's the composition I came up with. I placed the fruit inside a tote bag, I'm looking forward to painting the folds!

In the same manner as my paintings of my terrariums, I think it would be nice to have a mise en abîme of another artwork. I like the idea of one artwork giving a nod to another one. I’m booked into to work on some new hand built vessels (I tried throwing and got too discouraged to keep it up), so I think it would be nice to utilise them in the composition. I don't think I will have that done on time for this one though, so I'll use that idea for another piece. It could also be nice in the future to work on broader compositions too, to see how that changes how the impact of the image.


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