Still Life, Photography?

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Still Life, Photography?

From Virgil Elliott

Published before 2005


One of the main reasons why painters do still lifes is so they can paint from direct observation of their subject, which provides every bit of the visual information that is required in creating, or at least recording, a convincingly three-dimensional illusion of that subject. A photograph, on the other hand, does not provide all of that information, and there is generally some distortion of shapes, values and colors involved, which make it less satisfactory as source material than working from direct observation of the subject, using the superior viewing instrument, the artist's eye. So for this reason, I doubt that the painter in question works from photographic reference, projected or otherwise. Even in the web images of his paintings, there is sufficient demonstration of a good eye. Were he painting acrobats on the high wire, or some other moving subject, I might entertain the idea that he could be looking at some photographs when he works, but why would anyone with a good eye need to do that with a still life setup?

Virgil Elliott