Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Check and Log : Still Life

Do you think it is easier to suggest three dimensions on man-made or natural objects?

I think it is easier to suggest three dimensions with certain types of man made forms than it is with natural forms. For example a box or a bottle has a definite recognisable shape and therefore it is easier to get the eye to read it as three dimensional using linear perspective and ellipses respectively. This doesn't apply to all man made forms - for example folds in fabric soft squashy man-made items like bread can have the same problems in this respect as organic forms.
Natural forms have more organic and variable shapes this means that it can be difficult to get the viewer to interpret such aspects as foreshortening. I encountered this problem with my veg piled and propped up an a plate. Organic objects, however are 'easier' to draw that is to say  there is more scope for errors in accuracy being undetected than there is for example with a PlayStation box.

How did you create a sense of solidity in your composition?

I tried to create solidity in the composition by attention to the tonal values placing highlights ad areas of shadow where appropriate and getting the shading to follow the contours of the forms. In some cases I have overlapped forms to try to give depth to the composition.

Do you think changing the arrangement of your composition makes a difference to your approach and the way you create a sense of form?

Changing the arrangement of the composition makes a great deal of difference. For example in the composition of natural objects when I looked down on objects from above and they were also lit from above the vegetables appeared flat and it would have been difficult to create the sense of the solidity and roundness of the objects. When the vegetables were lit from the side, were viewed from a different angle, and were overlapping each other it was easier to see different tonal values which helped when trying to represent the forms.

How did you decide how to position yourself in relation to the objects?

I did this by a process of trial and error. Luckily I have a reasonable amount of space to work in. I tried placing objects on the floor. I tried a low picnic table with me standing or sitting. I also placed objects on a high table and sat on a low stool so the objects were at just about eye level. I walked around the objects and looked at them from different angles. 

When rearranging the objects I needed a viewfinder to assess the arrangements. Despite having been warned that a digital camera was not the best tool for this I was tempted to try it for convenience as I had my phone handy and could easily take quick snaps from different angles. It was only after doing this for myself that I understood why it wasn't the best way forward. The digital shots all looked very flat. They lost the depth of the original arrangements. Ultimately I went back to a good old-fashioned cut out cardboard viewfinder. The other advantage of this was that I could make it in different formats such as square or elongated.

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