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Foreground and background

Painters often feel the objects or people they paint are floating (involuntarily!). In our still life course we will be looking at how forms are separated or joined by "lost" and "found" edges. The idea is to create a relationship of colour and value (how dark or light something is painted).


In this Willem Kalf dutch still life painting from the 17th century, you can see how the shapes emerge from the shadows through an effect called "chiaroscuro".




Here Vermeer shows his mastery of this technique in the tableware around the jug. We immediately accept the spatial positioning of the objects on the table top, and if we observe closely we can see how the dynamic contrast of light and dark shapes creates this illusion.




I tried to see how I could relate my shapes to the background in this still life to see where they might merge or stand out.




it's great practice to try to observe the effect of light on objects, although not all are as well lit as in this photo by JE Franz




Why not try to make a quick thumbnail sketch of this, so that you can see how the relationship of dark and light forms works to anchor objects?

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