Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ranger House - Not a Still Life

This is one of the several sketches, I did this weekend.  It's depicts an empty park ranger house at the back end of the park.  I have a whole kit now for walking and drawing.  It includes a conte crayon, a couple vine charcoal sticks and a white pastel stick, plus a kneaded eraser, fixative, and a 9x12 sketchbook.

Arnheim writes:  "The term still life ought to be reserved for arrangements of things not held together by a natural context.  Chardin organizes his kitchenware for the purposes of his painting, whereas the Roman mosaics showing the leftovers of a meal strewn on the floor are not really still lifes.  The still life is somewhere in between ornament and genre painting.  It is a modern principle because it eschews realistic justification.  Cezanne's or Matisse's nudes populating landscapes come close to still life arrangements of vegetation and human bodies.  Those scenes are no more likely to occur anywhere outside art than Chardin's displays on the kitchen table.  And in a sense, all nonrepresentational compositions also are still lifes."

In my landscapes, I prefer the "natural context".  I may not include something, but I do not move things around, or add anything.  If the scene doesn't work I don't do it, or I keep moving around until I find a way to make it work.   I love Chardin's still life paintings, but am not too crazy about those elaborate still lifes that stack up all kinds of pots and pans, plates, knives, and everything else, until they look like small cities.   I will be posting some small still lifes that I have been making for fun.

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