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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > December 18 > Contemporary still life

Contemporary still life

Marie Antoniou suggests you move away from traditional subjects and paint a still life that reflects the current times – there should be plenty to inspire you around the home

The great thing about drawing or painting a still life is that you are never short of things to choose from. Inanimate objects such as kitchen utensils to ornaments which form no practical use other than just to look pretty, provides the keen artist with an endless supply of things to paint or draw all within reach at any time.

Still life was one of the first subjects in my art lessons at school. It allowed us to practise the fundamentals of drawing and painting within one subject.

Mastery of line and tone enables the artist to reproduce an object and make it look 3D on a 2D surface. Then of course there are other things to tackle, such as texture and colour.

Some of the most popular arrangements include either a bowl of fruit or a vase of flowers. These two subjects are reliable in giving your still life a colour boost and don’t require too much fuss to arrange them. For instance, a bunch of flowers would have been arranged by a florist, who would have considered colours, shapes and flower types, thus allowing you to immortalise a beautiful bunch of flowers.

Composition

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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.