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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Jan-18 > Still life with flowers

Still life with flowers

Judi Whitton looks at what to consider when painting still life in watercolour – what to leave in, what to take out, and how to bring all the separate elements together for a balanced painting

Judi Whitton is a well-established watercolour artist and an enthusiastic plein-air painter. She has had many successful solo exhibitions and is a popular tutor. Her latest book Painting Venice was published in 2015, price £24 plus p&p. For more details and to order this and copies of her other books, go to www.watercolour.co.uk or email judi@watercolour.co.uk

All still-life arrangements by Sue Wales

Oh what joy it is to paint a still life. You are warm and comfortable. You can fiddle with the subject matter to your heart’s content, you are in charge of the light and it does not move, unless the flowers begin to wilt.

Rules

I find it very difficult to give any specific rules for painting still life; overall the rules are the same as those for landscape painting. Shape is the most important consideration, tone is second and colour third. You may disagree! A lead-in can be helpful as is a sense of depth and try to sit any vessels down rather than leave them floating. Avoid symmetry, steer clear of placing a ‘horizon’, such as a table top, midway across the paper, stay away from placing one vessel centrally and so on. You can, of course, always break the rules. As in landscape painting, it is helpful to keep your first impressions of the subject uppermost in your mind and try to maintain the essential essence of it in your finished work.

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About The Artist

Welcome to our January issue which looks forward to the new year ahead with our special 6-page guide to open competitions and exhibitions in 2018 and beyond, with all the entry details and all-important deadlines. We also include full details about our own The Artist open competition with fantastic prizes and the opportunity to see your work exhibited and published in the magazine and on our website, promoting your artwork to our massive international audience. Our inspirational, practical articles from this month's team of top-level professional artists and tutors include how to exploit extreme shadows in watercolour for enhanced light effects, watercolour techniques for capturing atmospheric weather conditions and how to improve your watercolour still life paintings. Equestrian artist Ruth Buchanan offers 10 top tips on how to draw the horse, NEAC President Richard Pikesley offers ideas on painting 'table-top' landscapes indoors when it's impossible to get outside to paint and Barry Freeman explains how painting from the heart is the key to loosening up in your work. With much more too, you will find plenty of ideas in this issue to keep you painting over the festive period. The team at The Artist wishes all our readers a happy, creative time and enjoyable new year.
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