Art: Still Life
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Still life is a type of painting. It’s a picture of objects that don’t move. The artist looks at objects, like vases, fruit, bottle’s flower’s and studies the way the light hits the objects, the shadow’s and the shape. Archie Forrest is a Scottish artist, who was born in 1950. Archie attended the Glasgow school of art in 1969 and left in 1973. He then spent 7 years teaching pupils as an art tutor. In 1985 he stopped teaching and completely devoted him time, to making art. Forrest’s work is very popular and has appeared in many different galleries throughout Scotland. He is now aged 62 and still continues to contribute his work. ‘Wee group’ is an example of Archie’s work. The drawing consists of many random objects on an old wooden table. The viewer mainly focuses on the table, as all the objects are found on it. The object used are, various fruits scattered around, a vase with many different coloured flowers, a uniquely patterned jug and an old clothe hanging off the edge of the table. This is an interesting combination, as these objects would not normally be found together. The drawing is split up into three sections, the foreground, the background, and the midground.
The underneath of the table is the foreground, the objects on the table are the midground, and the background is a plain and boring wall. It’s also sectioned using horizontal and vertical lines. The way the fruit is placed makes a horizontal line, the table, cloth, jug and vase are all vertical lines. The objects that make up the drawing are all in very similar colours, like warm pale pinks, blues and creams. The horizontal objects are all in very different shades from the vertical objects, the horizontal objects are bright orange, red and green. The picture as a whole has a warm feel to it. As the background and midground colours are pale shades, like lime green and cream, this makes the painting less intense. However even though the colours used for the fruit are bright and bold, it still doesn’t take away from the paintings calm and relaxed theme. The objects just contrast with the rest of the drawing to draw attention to them. A strong black tone is used in the background and foreground of the picture and each of the objects are clearly defined with a black outline, making them seem 3D. The darkened background brings in the foreground and makes it have depth.
The fruit is overlapping the jug, bringing the fruit forward and the jug backwards into the background. A lot of the fruit is also overlapping, giving all the objects distance across the table. The texture of the painting seems smooth as he uses objects that would be smooth in real life. He makes the fruit seem perfectly round and shiny. Whereas the table looks ragged and rough, as well as the wall in the background.There’s an obvious unique pattern on the jug, repeated curves and lines are used to give the fruit and vase shape. It looks like he’s been controlled and relaxed when drawing this. The painting to me seems very relaxed and calm, due to the colours Archie used. The objects on the table, although they are placed randomly in no particular order, still look tidily arranged so the painting seems neat not messy and loud. I don’t think Archie Forrest has made a huge contribution to his movement as he is still living.
The second picture I choose to study is, ‘still life with Earthenware and bottles’ by Van Gogh. Van Gogh is a very well-known artist who was born in 1883, he grew up in Holland. His family were very religious as his father was a minister. When Vincent left school, he decided to follow his uncle’s career as an art dealer. Although he was happy with his work, he grew tired of the art trade. It wasn’t until 1880, aged 27, that he truly started to become an artist. He attended the ‘academe Royale des Beaux arts’ in Brussels, Belgium. He instantly fell in love with art. Although he would go on to draw more than 900 paintings in the next 10 years, he was never fully appreciated in his lifetime. It was only after he took his life in 1890 that his work was discovered and went on to influence many artists to come. In this picture there are two bowls, a vase, a paint brush, 3 bottles and an eatherwane pot.
The two smaller pots are positioned at either ends of the table. The largest pot is in the center of the picture and inside it there is the paint brush. They are all sat on an old looking brown table. Because the bottles in this painting appear far away, we would say there in the background, the two bowls at either side of the painting look closest to us, so they are in the foreground. The midground section is the table as it appears deeper than the foreground but not as deep as the background. The picture itself is quite dark. Except the blue and white bowl, this stands out against everything. The picture is built up of mainly brown tones. He juxtaposed the green colour of the bottles in the background with the dark red colour of the bowl in the centre. This picture is broken down into many simple soft shapes they all round off at some point. The shapes are medium sized, except the small bowls at the side of the picture and the bowl which is quite large and in the centre of the painting to draw attention to it.
The texture of the painting seems smooth and detailed, like he’s concentrated on it a lot. He’s drawn these objects in circular motions to give them shape. It looks like how it would feel in real life. Colour in this picture, seems to fade from the bottom of the painting to the top, doing this gives the painting distance and makes it seem far away. The largest shape overlaps with the two objects on the sides giving it depth. This picture makes me feel confused as he uses dark tones and colours, but he also uses a bright blue for the bowl. So I don’t know whether to feel happy or sad. I think van Gogh felt this way to, I also think he felt relaxed as his brushstrokes seem neat smooth like he’s concentrated on it. Since Van Gogh’s death he has made a huge contribution to art, he has influenced many artists and the way art he has changed the way art is done today.
Archie and Van Gogh are two very different artists. Looking at Van Goghs work he was famous for his bold, dramatic brushstrokes that convayed his feelings, showing he went through alot of stress. However archie paintings seem much more concentrated, he seems like a laid back, relaxed type person. Very unlike Van Gogh who lived an anxious and crazy life. Van Gogh also tended to use very dark shades, he very rarely used bright colours, but archie uses all different types of colours, both very bright and very dark. Although archie is in his early 60’s and still produces new art work, he has not yet made a huge contribution to his time but Van Gogh, although dead, still continues to this day to influence young artists.