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Pocketmags Digital Magazines

It’s all an illusion

Tim Gustard reveals the techniques he uses to paint his detailed acrylic still lifes, many of which contain silver or glass items and complex reflections

MASTERCLASS

My early still lifes were simple and I showed them at the Royal Scottish Academy for several years. They have since become more complicated and more detailed; some people say they are photorealistic, which is to miss the point. I paint not from photos but from life with the intention of creating illusion, illusion that photography cannot capture.

I had a new studio built at the bottom of the garden in 2016, so now I ‘go to work’ in the morning. It has enabled me to create three painting stations and have two or three pieces in various stages of completion at any one time. The 6ft (2m) north-facing windows provide all the natural light I need, and the underfloor heating keeps me cosy in the winter. I’m in the studio by 7am and work for 12 to 14 hours, taking a brisk walk after lunch.

Preparing the support

The first thing is to lay out the position of the major objects; there are usually three or five of them and it’s surprising how often the composition is triangular. I have hundreds of props in the studio and spend time setting up the arrangement. I seldom do preparatory sketches – I know what I want and often even have a title written in my little red book to accompany the painting I can see in my mind’s eye.

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About The Artist

Let this month's issue of The Artist inspire and guide your next steps in drawing and painting a range of figurative subject matter in all media. From realistic still lifes in acrylics, watercolour landscape challenges suggested by Amanda Hyatt, David Parfitt and Paul Talbot-Greaves, through to portraits in oils and mixed media, our fantastic team of practising artist-contributors aim to help you develop your knowledge and skills based on their own experiences as professional artists and tutors. Check out the list of contents for more details of all the great articles in this issue, and look out for our latest sketching competition to enter on page 66, plus win £500 worth of gift vouchers to spend on art materials with Great Art in our PaintersOnline competition on page 6. See also pages 12 to 13 for the latest news on the Patchings Art, Craft & Design Festival (July 12-15). We will be celebrating the opening of our annual The Artist open exhibition there on July 12. We look forward to meeting our successful selected artists and visitors to the festival.