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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > January 2020 > Textured backgrounds in still life

Textured backgrounds in still life

Penny German explores the different materials and techniques that can be used to add texture and interest to your still-life paintings

Enamel Jug and Eggshells, oil on board, 113/43113/4in (30330cm).

Here I have used a fairly plain background but have suggested an old wall by using very subtle changes of colour

Still-life painting can be an excellent way to explore the effect of light on objects but in order to create a visually interesting painting, I find it important to consider the whole rather than just the elements. Whether minimal or more complicated, the background needs to be given as much consideration as the objects in order to capture the viewer’s attention and will act as an enhancement or a showcase for the chosen models. Even a plain background can provide interesting negative spaces or suggest objects peering out of a shadow, as in Enamel Jug and Eggshells (right).

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About The Artist

Welcome to the first 2020 issue of The Artist. With a new year of drawing and painting to look forward to Paul Talbot-Greaves suggests 12 ways to help improve your watercolour skills throughout the year. Our four-page diary with the details and entry deadlines for all the main open competitions to enter will help you plan your year, while Bob Brandt's advice will help you maximise your chances of success. Watercolourists will enjoy Ian Sidaway's feature on painting the Rockies, Jake Winkle's focus on why good design is essential for an attention-grabbing composition, Julie Collins' colour-mixing ideas for winter trees and Jenny Wheatley's guide to choosing the best watercolour paper for your style of painting. Follow Robert Dutton and Soraya French and used mixed-media techniques to paint landscapes and flowers, plus Robert Brindley demonstrates how to capture light on water in pastel. With demonstrations in gouache, oils - including how to paint noses - charcoal and pastels, there's something for everyone, whatever your preferred medium. Why not make 2020 the year to try a new one with inspiration and guidance from The Artist?! Enjoy!