Get Inspired by Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Two High Heels in Still Life, ca. 1960, ink and watercolor on paper, 28 1/8 x 21 7/8 inches. 75th Anniversary gift of Pat and Bill Wilson, 52-2012.
Re-discover everyday objects by observing them closely. Create a still life using household items or objects of personal significance.
What is a Still Life?
A still life is composed of inanimate (non-living) objects. Subject matter may vary from flower arrangements, food, everyday items, to objects of significance or those that carry symbolic meaning.
Still life drawing or painting is one of the fundamental practices for an artist to learn how to depict objects realistically based upon close observation. It also involves the creation of compositions of objects, combined together to create greater significance.
- Still life objects such as fruit, flowers, household items, or things that have meaning to you
- Camera or camera phone
- Drawing paper
- Pencil, pen, paint, charcoal, or pastels, etc.
Take time to observe your surroundings. Look for things you see every day, but might overlook because you see them often. Think about objects that have meaning to you or that you use often.
Once you have observed your setting, select and collect objects for your still life. They might be everyday household items, such as a favorite cup. Or, they might have personal significance or act as symbols—objects that represent an idea or a memory important to you—such as a memento or souvenir.
Create an arrangement with your objects. Consider placement and the relationship between the objects, as well as foreground, background, focal points, pattern, texture, and lighting when organizing your display. Make sure all of the items are visible and the composition is balanced so the eye is not more attracted to one area over another.
Once you have arranged your items, experiment with different perspectives to capture your still life. You might observe your arrangement from different angles. For example, look at your still life from birds eye view - looking down from above. Then look at your objects from a portrait view - eye level.