Drawing from a Still Life
Graphite on Paper, 8.5×5.5″
I found this buried in my sketchbook. I don’t know why I hadn’t seen it. The pages weren’t stuck together. It’s one of my students from last semester drawing from a still life set up. It’s probably from one of the first projects of the semester. They get to hate that still life. We use it a lot. It’s such an elemental activity. All the old 19th and 20th painters went to the still life to work out new ideas. Think of Cezanne, Picasso, and Matisse. Cezanne worked out his color ideas with still life which led to Picasso’s cubism. Picasso worked out cubism with still life and Matisse worked his brilliant color with still life also. They never excluded subject matter and they never eliminated the figure in their works.
Skills based art and easel painting keep getting declared dead but it keeps going on in spite of the declarations. I think human beings are too narcissistic to give up on representing themselves and their surroundings to totally abandon self imagery. We’ve been doing it for at least 40,000 years. Why should we stop now? The beat goes on.
April 26, 2011