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Informal is key

Forget the Dutch Masters! Focus on enjoying yourself as you follow John Mitchell’s advice and paint informal still lifes that inspire you

Razor Shells , watercolour, 51⁄2x7in. (14x18cm). As you can see in this shell study, I did not use any of my composition sketches (far right) as a basis for the final work. I decided to arrange them in a row as if they were in a display case. To increase the impact I slightly exaggerated the colours. Watercolour was a good medium for this subject. Try to choose a medium that suits your topic.


How to loosen up your style

Arrange and compose successful informal still lifes

Where to look for good subjects

We have all seen them – those complicated Dutch still-life paintings. We tried painting them at school, too: nice shiny bottles, a couple of apples, perhaps a flower or two. Make sure the shine was right; ensure there was polish in the apples. How boring!

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the August issue of Leisure Painter. Aimed at beginners and amateur painters, this month's issue is packed with practical advice, demonstrations, tutorials and tips and techniques for drawing and painting your favourite subjects, from materials and colours to the techniques and ideas you need to produce beautiful paintings. Learn how to loosen up your style as you use outdoor techniques for painting at home, or how to transform a dull photograph into a vibrant sunset scene. Understand the value of edges in your work, how to inject life and character into your drawings and paintings of cats, and be inspired to paint summer-themed still lifes. There's a beginner's introduction to Brusho as well as demonstrations in watercolour, acrylics, water-mixable oils and oils.