Still Life from the Pantry

Still life demo of pantry items, acrylic on canvas, 10x7 in.

Still life demo of pantry items, acrylic on canvas, 10x7 in.

A still life does not need to contain elaborate items to be interesting. In fact, items from around the house can often be used to create dynamic, colorful still life compositions. I particularly like using items from the pantry, commercial packaging typically contains vibrant graphics and recognizable brand labels that can make an interesting, playful design.

The objects themselves are great for practicing your drawing skills: cylinders (cans), rectangular cubes (bread, boxes) and a variety of surface textures (metal, plastic and glass) are all represented in the goods stocked in the average pantry. Want to practice drawing ellipses? Do a still life of cans! The plastic on a bread bag contains wonderful contrasts and bright highlights. Glass and metal on jars and cans is always a challenge, painting them from life is the best way to improve your observational skills.

The geometric forms of the packaging also lend themselves to interesting, contemporary compositions. Use the geometrics to break up the space in a balanced manner.  Repeating shapes, colors and graphics are a great way to keep the eye moving and to prevent the viewer from becoming stuck or bored.

A still life does not always need to contain fruit and flowers! Be creative, there are items all around you that can make a unique and compelling set up.

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