Semester Still Life Project Information

Self Portrait (But, with a TWIST…)

*STILL LIFE- Lifeless or inanimate objects that are grouped together in an interesting way to make a picture.

1)    Everyone will be creating a composition that will be done in the Still Life tradition.  The goal is to find as many objects that represent WHO you are…

                                    A)  One example of finding objects is to simply take objects that you                                                                          like, that tell something about your tastes, interests, etc.  For                                                                                example:  Favorite CDs, T-shirts, art supplies, pictures of people who                                                                  are important in your life…


                                     B)  Another way to go is to follow the Dutch still life painters of the 16th                                                                    and 17th century and search for deeper meaning in their objects… 

                                                                                    OR Combine the two

                 Here are a few examples of Common Symbols in Dutch Still Life paintings:

*DEATH/MORTALITY-candle just extinguished, skull, decaying fruit or flowers

*LENGTH and PASSING OF LIFE-A chronometer (the timepiece that resembles a pocket watch), any kind of Clock

            *CHANCE-Tarot cards, dice                             *KNOWLEDGE-Books

*VANITY or “VANITAS” (The meaningless of earthly life)-Lipstick, mirror, smoke, coins, tulips, soap bubbles, your own picture or reflection in the piece


*WEALTH-Shells, Books, Musical instruments, silk fabrics

2)  Everyone needs a MINIMUM of 6 objects in their Still life.  You may use more than 6.

3) Using the list below, everyone needs to research THREE of the artists listed BEFORE you start on your composition.  All the artists listed have done or are known primarily for their Still life compositions.  There are many of the artists who have worked in other styles or genres as well, so be sure to find their Still life examples when doing the research.  

*Once you have picked 3, you will need to either write down the information to these questions OR put them on a word document:

** You will need this information for the evaluation in paper form**

          1)  Any art movements/styles that they were connected with (Think “ism”)

          2)  Colors used in their palette (that is, colors or color schemes they generally used in their pieces) …hot or cold colors, dark colors, earth tones, etc…

          3)  Techniques they would have used to apply paint/pencil/etc. to the surface…Is it smooth, rough, etc.?  Look and think about the texture that is physically there (actual) OR implied.

          4)  WHEN did they live?  OR what is their birthdate if they are still alive?

          5)  TWO pieces of Biographical information not including when they lived.

          6)  Objects that they used in their Still Life compositions

          7)  What was the name of a piece that you really liked by your artist?  Be able to                    EXPLAIN WHY you liked it.


Audrey Flack           Robert Kogge          Cynthia Peterson                Sara Roush

David Bailly             Joan Miro               Preston Dickinson              Stuart Davis

Samuel Halpert        Hannah Hoch          Marsden Hartley                Walt Kuhn

Henry Lee McFee     Yasuo Kuniyoshi      Walter Murch                   Max Weber

Georgia O’Keefe       Franklin Watkins     James Rosenquist               Janet Fish

Harmen Steenwyck   Max Beckmann        Bradley Walker Tomlin      Frans Snyders

Juan Sanchez Cotan  Clara Peeters            Cornelius Gijsbrechts          James Peale

Maria van Oosterwyck                  William Harnett                Joseph Decker         

Kenneth Davies                            Carolyn Brady                    Mary Pratt

William Bailey                             Paul Cezanne                     Giorgio Morandi       

Andre Derain                               Henri Matisse

4)  Once you have, hopefully, found inspiration (whether it is style, colors, technique or even subject matter) in some of the Still life artists listed above, your next step is to build your still life.  Think about how you want the objects arranged that is both INTERESTING and works well… Overlapping the objects and putting them on different spatial planes will add to the interest.  See as reference your sheet from the beginning of the year on Composition.


*Make sure you set it up in a place that won’t be in the way or have to get moved

* Take some pictures of it so you have an added reference to check

*Draw what you see up front first, then draw the next object that is behind it and so       on and so on…

5)  We will have two “QUESTION/PROBLEM/SKETCH DAYS” on TUESDAY, NOV. 28th and WEDNESDAY, NOV. 29th during class… BE PREPARED!!!  You may show me your sketch or ideas before that day if you like.

6)  The media that you use is your choice.  However, I would highly recommend that you choose a media that you feel confident working with.  (For example, don’t use watercolor if you have never really worked with watercolor before) This project is meant for you to showcase what you know about a good composition and strong understanding of your media.

7)  Your composition can be on whatever flat base you think will work best.  I would recommend the good white drawing paper.  I have already cut pieces of it to the size that you will need for the exam.  These pieces will be sitting on the table in front of the white board.  The size of your composition should be 12” x 16”.  Please choose the BEST orientation for your composition:  horizontal or vertical.

8)  IF you want to make your composition in a different size, orientation or material, please check with me first. 

9)  On the day of the evaluation, you will be expected to bring your smiling and happy faces to the Art room with your SPECTACULAR finished Self Portrait Still Life composition ALONG WITH all the research you found on your 3 artists (in paper form). 

10) Your FINISHED Still Life composition will be DUE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 20th during your class period.

Good Luck, Be Creative, Work Hard and have Fun!!