In a long-lost period of art (except perhaps, for those attending Royal Academy Schools – in the UK at least), both the formal study of the human form (alive and dead) and the formal study of inanimate objects, known under the coverall of still life, formed the foundation of an art education. In exactly the same way as the great literary figures and music composers of yesteryear relied upon solid groundings in grammar and notation respectively, a mastery of observation was regarded a prerequisite for an aspirant artist.
My own time at art school, beginning in 1976, coincided with the end of that ages-old period, so that even during my foundation course it was the finished image that mattered and not so much how it was created.
How much this matters is a debate that has continued unabated since “Modernism” in art began, about the time of my birth in 1960, and not a subject I wish to go into now. However, my own opinion of the matter is well known to regular readers and followers of these pages and evidenced pretty obviously by the pictures displayed here.
Lacking any formal/traditional grounding/tuition in the skills of my trade, early on in my time at art school I began to resort to self-education. As the pictures here attest, at first, I was pretty rudderless, but gradually, over about three years began to evolve a reasonably articulate language built upon a fairly solid visual and observational grammar – albeit, and with apologies to RA Scholars everywhere – personal to me.
2 thoughts on “STILL LIVES (AND STILL BOTTLES) – the evolution of my study of still life…”
It is my impression [pun not intended] that in the US in that period there were only a couple schools teaching the old fundamentals of seeing and draftsmanship. Now there is a revival.
We were lucky to have a portrait of Alie done [purchased at a fund-raising auction] by Joseph Sheppard in 1974. We were the only bidders. Now there is a museum of his work in Baltimore, Maryland.
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That sounds like good news to me Ray. Only wish the same was true this side of the Pond. I’d love to see that portrait by the way…