I borrowed this phrase from the recently deceased Canadian painter Robert Genn who believed that there is only so much we can learn about how to paint from the many fine instructors and resources available today. The true learning comes from going off on our own and just doing it - Go to your room!

I have had the good fortune to take instruction from outstanding artists in Canada and the USA. I continue to work on my own development ( Going to MY room!) . I share, through this blog and workshops, what I have learned and what others have shared with me.

I created this blog primarily for those attending my workshops to keep in touch and to further share as we grow together. If others are interested in following that would be great.

Enjoy the journey.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

Panda and Still Life Setup

Water Sol oils on linen mounted on door skin 
If you subscribe to the Oregon artist  Carol Marine's blog  you will know that she has just purchased a new heavy duty  easel to support her small still life set up and lights. She also mentioned in the post that at her artists friend James Coulter on his blog showed his still life set up (by the way I have just purchased one of his plein air setups and   think I am going to enjoy it - more about plein air set ups in a future post) .  Both set ups are quite substantial and would certainly do the trick. 

Over a year ago, when I saw  a post of how Carol had set up her first still life box I decided to make one but but took a slightly different approach. I did not want any more equipment on the floor taking up space or something to trip over. I had a old  TV wall mount that wasn't being used and decided to build my  box with that in mind. As you can see it is made of plywood (had some old pieces around),  has a closed back,  one closed side, one half side and an open front. It swings so I can expose my subjects to natural light from the window or easily change the angle for viewing differently. Unlike the newer generation of TV mounts this older one does not go up or down. So to change the height of my subject I simply put a small pail in the box and cover with drapes. I use one large light and have 4 small lights each with different coloured bulbs.

Home Depot Stand
If you prefer a floor mount, Home Depot sells a stand that can extend to 46 inches, is light and portable and only $49.95. I  put a small plywood platform on it and use it outside on my balcony in different light. 

Different approaches - similar result. 

I don't use the setup as much as I should. It is excellent for small still life exercises - working on shaping form etc. Had a fun day yesterday playing with a small panda that my wife brought back from China 20 years ago. Unfortunately, my drawing has made him more a teddy bear than a panda. 

Panda in progress 

Examples of more traditional still life and setup 

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