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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > December 18 > Put some life into your still life

Put some life into your still life

Follow Aine Divine as she captures a ‘dancing flock’ of cyclamen flowers in oil over acrylic

Ilove to use a combination of oil paint over acrylic. The acrylic appeals to me for the freedom of expression it allows – large sweeping brushstrokes made from the shoulder characterise the early phase of the painting, when I’m seeking to establish the main shapes and colours. I gather the energy of the grouping so it settles in the boundaries of the page.

In simple terms the oil layer tends to pull together the wildness of the underpainting, to achieve a sort of order in the chaos. As Francis Bacon put it: ‘I like to have order in my work, but for it to have come about through chaos’.

I love it all. It’s an exercise in being curious to what’s there. Puts me in mind of a quotation from the guru Mooji:

‘When we are curious we create, when we are desperate we discover’. I was more than desperate whilst painting for this article, with Jim the photographer capturing every stage. You can decide whether I discovered something.

More than anything we want to look with fresh eyes, to be willing to risk losing it all, and rather than opt for a safe and easy picture, to seek the truth of what’s there, whatever that means to you.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the December issue of The Artist, packed with inspiring, practical articles and demonstrations from top professional artists, all designed to help you improve your drawing and painting skills and techniques. Whatever your preferred medium, there's something for everyone, from how to use wet-in-wet watercolour to capture the mists of autumn, paint a still life in oils over acrylics, use aerial perspective to create distance and atmosphere in your landscapes, to advice on coloured-pencil techniques for botanical subjects. Learn how to glaze your acrylic paintings for greater impact, capture the shimmering light and movement of the sea in acrylics, choose colours for maximum effect for your flower paintings, plus why not try setting up a contemporary still life for something different this month. There's an insight into 'Pete the Street' Brown's approach to working en plein air, Charles Williams' questions what we want from art, and Sally Barton explains how to paint portraits of people's houses to commission. We also include the latest art news and a host of information about competitions to enter, books and art products, offers and more for your artistic enjoyment.