Monday, 3 September 2012
Still life paintings from nature are a great way to work on composition in real life. You select some props, move them around and swap them until you are happy with your subject. It is important to take the time to compose this way.
I like to take a break when I think I have achieved a good composition and come back to it with a fresh eye. There is always a little something that I can make better.
I took some photos while working on the set-up for my painting Summer tea in order to share with you my thought process.
Positives: The white china is interesting, even if it is difficult to paint (white on white). The strawberries give a splash of bright colour and will be a good focal point. The pot that contains the strawberries echoes the ellipsis of of the cup of tea and provides repetition with variation.
Negatives: This composition is boring, too symmetrical and binary.
Positives: The pitcher at the back adds height to the composition that now forms a triangle. The light part of the pitcher on the left helps to bring forward the strawberries. The dark side of the pitcher outline the light rim of the cup.
Negatives: One more white element seems too much.
I replaced the china pitcher with a silver one. The contrast is accentuated with the cup, but lowered with the strawberries in the shadow. I like the slander handle on the left that gives more height without being intrusive.
The single strawberry on the tablecloth makes the composition more interesting. It breaks the line of the pot full of strawberries. Its orientation helps to outline the green leaves.