M. Stephen Doherty

M. Stephen Doherty
The editor of Plein Air magazine at work

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Still Life Painting

John Bosquet-Morra teaching a workshop at the Grand Central Academy of Art in New York

Workshop participants first did quick sketches (on the right), then they created detailed paintings (center) from the sketch and the actual set-up (at left).

Bob Lenz underpainted a grisaille and then glazed colors to capture the appearance of the metal object in his still life.

I just finished writing an article on John Bosquet-Morra's (www.johnmorrapainting.com) recent workshop at the Grand Central Academy of Art (www.grandcentralacademy.classicist.org) for the spring, 2010 issue of Workshop (www.artistdaily.com), and I enjoyed writing about an instructor who encourages students to expand their ideas about still lifes. John suggests using non-traditional materials like small appliances, bricks, and hardware as well as standard fruits and flowers; and he shows how artists can select items that all relate to a story, recipe, or theme. For example, he recommended painting a still life of all the items listed in a cooking recipe so they have a practical relationship to each other.
John also demonstrated several painting techniques, include alla prima direct painting and glazing over a monochromatic grisaille ("gray painting"). That is, he showed how to paint wet-into-wet to develop an oil painting without having to wait for each layer of paint to dry; and he explained how to first paint the dark, middle, and light values with a limited palette of colors and later glaze over thin, transparent colors. Bob Lenz, one of the workshop participants, found the grisaille method appropriate for painting a metail object in his still life.
John recently switched New York galleries and is now represented by the Eleanor Ettinger Gallery in Soho (www.eegallery.com).

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