Watts Atelier - Student Years: Still Life Painting
Still life painting has always been one of my favorite classes. I know, most of you are thinking..."Really?! But isn't that a class for old ladies who like to paint flowers?" Absolutely not!
The number and variety of textures you learn to paint in one of those classes is great. If you're planning on working in illustration, concept, or fine art, it is one of the best classes you can take. I learned to paint various types of metals, colored glass, fruit, and other sorts of textured surfaces. Learning to paint differnet types of cloth: satin, velvet, linen, sheer, and more. All of this I took into painting my fantasy illustrations. Being able to paint the illusion of a certain kind of material adds so much depth to a painting.
I took the class most often with Meadow Gist and once with Jeff Watts. Each week would be a new 3hr study. Sometimes we would even do gesture paintings of 40-60min studies. During these studies I was also learning another level of dexterity with the brush. The nice thing about still life as well as landscape painting is that you have more freedom to experiment with brushmanship, color, and design. A portrait has to look like your subject, but a still life painting can be pushed and pulled in lots of directions with more room for error. This way of thinking allowed me to take more chances. Sure I failed a lot, but I also gained a confidence that I think, allowed me to take chances in my illustration work.
I've taught the class myself a couple times since I started teaching at the school. This has helped me reinforce a few things in my own work.