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How to Tell a Story with Your Painting

Still Lifes

Our collection of vintage Walter Foster titles is often a source of inspiration. The books remind us of the ageless nature of art and art techniques. No matter how much time may have passed since the original publication dates, the lessons are as helpful today as they have ever been.

Today we're sharing this gem from the collection: Claretta White Paints Still Life  

vintage still life painting

Images from the Walter Foster Publishing archives

Claretta White offers this insight about the art of the still life in her introduction:

Most of the famous artists of the past and present cut their baby teeth, so to speak, on Still Life. A great deal can be learned, providing the still life picture is interesting and does not look tired out as a result of painstaking technique. An artist should try to suggest to those who look at his or her picture, what he or she felt during the painting of it. Their work ought to be a liaison between the artist and the public. Still Life is the simpelst and easiest method to learn to draw and paint.

The vibrant nature of her painting and teaching style truly comes through in this colorful and fun lesson.

how to paint still life

What to do with foreground and background. As you can see, I used the same colors throughout this painting. Vase, bird, flowers, foreground and background. All the variations of Yellow and Blue which make the Green. Just the melon is Red. Although the warm tones are the deep color in the Yellow roses, Grey your background and it recedes. Warm your colors and they come forward. The softer the edges—the more is left to the viewers imagination. Study the old masters and impressionists and see how fuzzy the edges are.

Everyone loves watermelon, so I decided to tell a story and add a little yellow bird that liked watermelon seeds. For the beginning, it is not necessary to buy lots of still life vases and props. A watermelon, any jar painted any color, a few flowers, and you can still have the watermelon for dinner!

The sidebar on the right highlights some of the latest titles on still life currently available from Walter Foster

How do you like to add story to your artwork?

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You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

Maya Angelou

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