Monday, November 15, 2010

Still Life

Doesn't it seem like every artist draws or paints a picture of a bowl of fruit?  What's the deal with that?

Turns out, it's called still life.  And since it has a name, you know it's a real thing.

Still life is actually a pretty cool concept.  For one thing, you are creating what you see, which takes away the need to try to create from nothingness.  For another thing, it becomes a universal, uniform exercise.  The point is not to come up with the most amazing subject or concept, but merely to work on raw technique and style.  When everybody is painting fruit, the question becomes, how are you painting the fruit?

I really want to have a writing equivalent to still life.  And since I'm not aware of any off hand, I am unilaterally deciding to make the subject be shoes.

Look at a pair of shoes.  Stare at it, ponder it.  Then create it. Describe and express those shoes with your words.  This is not about making shoes a prop in a story (much like how a still life is about the bowl of fruit and not simply involving one).  Just describe those shoes sitting there, wherever "there" might be.  I don't care if they're on your feet or in front of you or hanging from some power lines.  Just paint that picture with your words.

Still life is all about technique and ability (and honing them) by having identical subjects.  Go and do that with your writing.  It's just an exercise to help you out.

Let me know how it goes.

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