Learn how to paint pastel still lifes > The following is part of a series of articles featuring a leader in the pastel community who will be joining us on the faculty of Pastel Live, a virtual art conference taking place August 18-20, 2022.
Pastel Still Lifes: Little Moments, Big Memories
by Michele Ashby
I decided to paint a series of still lifes showcasing some carefully chosen items from my late mum’s old wooden sewing box as a way of helping with the grieving process; but more importantly, I felt it would be an appropriate way of keeping her memory alive.
My dear mum loved to sew and knit and was always making things for my sister and I to wear. The Singer sewing machine was almost always out on the dining table ready to use at a moment’s notice.
It didn’t occur to me at the time that my little paintings (either 6×6″ or 10×10″) would conjure up such strong emotional responses and such feelings of nostalgia from friends, family, and followers online.
I have used photo references for all of these paintings, making sure the objects are beautifully lit with a low positioned light casting a strong directional shadow, allowing for the treasured items to be the ‘stars of the show’.
As an ex-graphic designer, I believe that composition is key and a fundamental element to making for a great painting – I take time to get just the look I’m after when working out the size, scale, and cropping of my chosen imagery.
The use of a neutral background tone (either a very light grey or mid grey) allows any areas of colour within the paintings to really pop.
I called my series “Little Moments Big Memories,” and so far I’ve painted over a dozen. I certainly have more I’d like to explore.
Still life hasn’t been a subject area that I’ve been excited to explore until I started with this series, but I have tried to stay true to my mantra of ‘telling my own truth’ to depict imagery that has triggered in me similar emotional responses that my portrait paintings have.
Connect with Michele Ashby: micheleashby.co.uk
Learn more from Michele at the upcoming Pastel Live online art conference: PastelLive.com
Visit EricRhoads.com (Publisher of Realism Today) to learn about opportunities for artists and art collectors, including: Art Retreats – International Art Trips – Art Conventions – Art Workshops (in person and online, including Realism Live) – And More!
Fascinating. What a great artist to be taught by, a wonderful communicator in words and images. I love Michele’s still lifes and figures
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