|Lemons by James Tormey, oil on canvas.|
Natural objects in sharp detail–that says it all according to artist James Tormey. For him, creating great still life paintings is a matter of painting natural objects in sharp detail. Tormey works on large-scale paintings of simple objects, and compositions can therefore be simplistic—lemons in a translucent dish; pears in a silver bowl; seashells on the ground—because the power and presence of the work resides in how they are presented.
The ‘how’ of Tormey’s works is inextricably linked to lighting the objects, as it is in the works of most still life artists. Reflected light and transmitted light are used to highlight surface details and texture, and turn forms in space. In Tormey’s work, objects tend to have intense highlights, and the direction of the light is usually quite obvious.
Another way Tormey distinguishes his works is by allowing his chosen still life objects to become larger than life—they loom on the horizon, overcrowd their niches, and all but block the landscape and city views often featured behind them on window ledges. This is intentional on Tormey’s part, and his still life pieces stand alone because the objects are oversized, yet realistically rendered in every other sense. This causes the viewer to question their own vantage point and the scale of the environment in which the still life objects are situated.
Creating memorable still life art is often a matter of making simple, everyday objects appear unique and unusual, and Tormay’s methods certainly achieve this goal. Mastering still life painting, however, means not only being able to create a dynamic concept with ordinary objects, but also mastering complex forms, lighting patterns, and using color to enhance the illusion of volume. Have you mastered a still life composition? Send me a link so I can see what you have worked on.
|Tormey makes small fruit appear as large as boulders.
Their monumental size draws the viewer's eye.
And if you are looking for ways to progress with your still life paintings or are just in search of insights about the art of painting, there are so many key resources available right now during the North Light Shop Go Green & Save Green Sale. For the best information art instructors and practicing artists have to offer, plus complete demonstrations at your fingertips, you'll definitely want to take a look at what is available. And who knows, maybe your next painting of a mug or onion or loaf of bread will turn out to be your masterpiece. Good luck!