Project – Still Life

Exercise – Observing Negative Space and Perspective
The objects for the first drawing were a glass bottle, glass jam jar and glass jug.

I drew the line of the outline in a soft pencil with a minimum of hesitations or corrections and tried to draw it without searching for the right line so mistakes were to be expected.

Whilst the outer objects were reasonably accurate the error came in the centrally positioned jam jar where the top and bottom outlines did not meet up.

The lighter lines were an attempt to bring form to the objects and correct the jam jar.

The second drawing has a modified and better grouping with a wine glass in the middle.

Drawing the line continuously was quite hard as you have to consider many aspects whilst progressing the line. Furthermore when drawing the bottom line you are trying to align with the top line.

However the result wasn’t too bad if your expectations aren’t too high! The lines tied up reasonably well.

Overall a good negative shape exercise insofar you are thinking more of the line you are drawing than the object you perceive you are drawing. Also the line you are drawing is that of the negative shape when its enclosed and the negative space when it’s not.

Project – Still Life

Exercise – Composition of Natural Objects


Sketch 1.  The largest object was placed in the centre and the remainder placed around it in a balanced form. The “looking down” aspect was not particularly interesting.

Sketch 2.  Again a central object with a balanced surround but a lower level aspect. The sketch is a little more interesting but has no character insofar that it’s a picture of a large pear with fruit arranged around it.

Sketch 3.  A slightly on edge aspect with a more random arrangement which results in a better picture with more depth and interest.

Sketch 4.  Drawn “on edge” which is an unusual but interesting view and which possibly could be enhanced by drawing in the support and the surroundings.


Drawing 5. The final choice of layout which puts the pear back in the middle but with the intention of the pomegranate and the pepper providing the background and the smaller fruits creating the foreground.

Unfortunately it hasn’t worked in the final drawing which is the fault of the pomegranate which on the plate looks stable but in the drawing appears unbalanced. Maybe I should have exaggerated the pepper to redress the balance..

Do you think it is easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made or natural objects? Try to explain your answer.

It is probably easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made objects as they are generally more regular or consistent in shape, also smoother in surface as they are usually made to be more tactile or visually pleasing.

Most natural objects tend to be erratic in shape often having more textures as nature does not require a tactile element having other purposes for its surfaces.

It is also easier to portray the perspective of man-made objects as the lines leading to the vanishing point can be more readily produced as the continuity of shape can be more readily projected.  Furthermore with most man-made objects even if part of the object is covered the eye/brain can anticipate the remainder of the object. Not so easy with natural objects

However the portrayal of depth and perspective is probably related to the skill of the artist.

How did you create a sense of solidity in your composition?

Firstly by creating an arrangement of the items that had depth and variation of texture and displaying that in the setup and then portraying that dimension by the use of line and space.

Also by incorporating shadow into the drawing and by varying the gradation of the shading.

Do you think changing the arrangement of your composition makes a difference to your approach and the way you create a sense of form?

Not particularly. Each arrangement was a task that had to be fulfilled. If one composition was more difficult than another then a different approach of, say, shading might have had to be employed and perhaps the lines of perspective would be different.

However it would be possible to make an arrangement that was easier to be drawn than another insofar that placing objects on the same plane would be easier to draw than one with an irregular or disappearing plane.

How did you decide how to position yourself in relation to the objects?

I looked for the aspect that would produce the most interesting  drawing, i.e. had variety.

This was achieved by sighting the object from different levels and angles but in the event the objects were moved to accommodate where I was sitting. I didn’t position myself, i.e. the plate was rotated and raised to obtain the view.

Project – Still Life

Exercise – Still Life Sketches of Made Objects

Upper left – the grouping/composition was okay. Tall at the back and then descending. The bottle was dark blue.

The sketch was easy enough though once again the ellipses were measured and do not look correct.

Centre – The group doesn’t quite meld but the sketch satisfactorily represents the objects. The ellipses were drawn to please rather than measured and look better.

Upper right – the group was an exercise in foreshortening and odd placement.

The sketch took longer than the other two put together and it’s still not correct. The cast shadows do not look real and maybe should have been lighter and softer at the edges even though they were not like that.

The shadows were shaded, instead of hatched, as shading looks more natural and can be more readily gradated.

What are the difficulties in separating cast shadow from reflected light and shade?
Not too difficult though you have to look for the object that is causing the shadow or reflection. Reflected light tends to give a more definite shape on larger reflections. Small or broken reflections are harder to identify particularly if the objects concerned are of varied shapes.

The reflected shadow and light follows the contours of the objects. How have you shown this in your drawing?

By drawing the reflected shadow and light along the contour of the object you are not just recreating the shadow and light but you are also accentuating the shape of the object on which the shadow and light is cast. Hopefully that shows in the sketches by the way the shading is drawn.