Tonight was super frustrating. There was a bit of excitement before I started on this still life again and lots of distractions. This resulted in lots of rushed work on the still life and what I would consider a failed painting session.

A Good Foundation: Session 3
A Good Foundation: Session 3

Never underestimate a focused mind when painting. I think most of the paintings I have done well have more to do with what space my head is in at the time of painting and less to do with my current skill level.

I was trying desperately to place brushstrokes like Sargent, Henri, or Zorn. Very confident specific strokes describing forms yet simple and accurate in nature. It turns out that doing this seems to be much harder than painstakingly rendering detail over lots of time. I feel like I could make good looking still life paintings all the time if I just render exactly what I see in front of me all the time in high details but the true mastery seems to lie in the ability to accurately abstract a form into basic simple strokes.

A different approach still life session 2, setup

I think the biggest issue I was having was placement and edges. First I was having a hard time putting my strokes in the right place with correct length and width plus I couldn’t put  stroke down and just leave it alone the hard edges seemed wrong to me. But looking at Sargent’s work, I see a lot of hard edges, and maybe evidence that he did soften some edges but not all.

A Different Approach Still Life Session 2 Post Inspiration

John singer sarger Nonchaloir detail
John singer sarger Nonchaloir (detail)

I’ve seen this painting in person at the National Gallery of art in Washington DC, its actually very small, and I always marvel at the simplicity of the brushwork.


  • Session: 1068
  • Work: 896
  • Width: 10"
  • Height: 8"
  • Medium: Oil
  • Location: Home
  • Art Time: 1.5
  • Creative Time:



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Chris Beaven

I am an Artist and a programmer currently living in the amazing state of Washington. I have a passion for art, but I'm stubborn as hell with it. My day is complete only when I do some piece of art each day, no matter how small. "There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile."