Still.Life.September: Much Ado About Food (Paintings)

2 Oct

This month we had some pretty interesting Still Life sets to play with – strong colour contrasts & interesting items (live fish!). These are the kinds of “set up” that makes me go – “Okay, let’s go and DO THIS!” 

My attraction to this month’s subjects could be largely attributed to my fascination with food. I love looking at fresh produce. In fact, when I am on tour, I never fail to make a stop at local markets (if I can).

I appreciate good food, I enjoy cooking but can I paint food and make them look, well, palatable?!?


Despite incoming distractions (ahem) from various other sources, I must say I am pretty pleased with this month’s progress. 🙂 Which I cannot accomplish without Teacher’s help… am I lucky or am I lucky?

I can’t believe it but it’s going to be our First Year Anniversary next month! A full year on since I first started this little hobby of mine. How time flies!

Still.Life in Real Life

You know… I could probably do a dish out of these ingredients… there’s a challenge! Hahah.

Let’s see – Grilled Fish with peppers and tomato for Week 1 and Vegetable Casserole & Pumpkin Mash for Week 2!  Anyone wants a recipe for this???

*stomach growls*


Ok, I shan’t digress…

Presenting…. Still.Life.September!

Here’s the link to my picasa web album for viewing all the Work-in-progress pictures.


If you are wondering why there are only TWO when there should be FOUR (weeks in September), it was because I was on vacation. Hence a two-week hiatus from painting, but I was never far away from Art.

Truly… Art is everywhere! Too bad I didn’t have time to sit and just sketch… Not that I won’t try eventually. I will upload some photos too, once I get them sorted.

I only hope that one day, I can be able to do a fraction of my grandfather does – he can just sketch off the cuff and render instant masterpieces.

My grandfather Yeh Chi Wei sketching in some kampong (likely c1970s)

I can only get closer.

September 4: Fishy Vegetable Pot

From Still.Life.September

The smell of the fish assaulted our noses before we even step foot into the Hall. The threesome laid languidly on yesterday’s  newspaper, dripping blood and slime. Sounds disgusting?

But to me it was like a shiny new toy!

I recall some time ago browsing art books in Kinokuniya and finding a painting of some fish in a market. I was fascinated by the artist’s demo of painting the “live” fish. Never thought I will also get to try my hand at it so soon!

This was as close as I could get to a live subject at this point of my “education” so I was excited to try my hand at it.

My favourite part has to be painting the tail – making it like erm… lively? Of course the pic of the fish above has already been edited by Teacher but I think my first attempt by myself was not half bad. A bit flat but not awful.

In painting fish, it is important to know that the shiny wet scales do reflect light and surrounding colours. Hence, the red from the tomatoes, yellow peppers should be there somewhere. Also, I forgot about the “red” for the fish gills, mouth and eyes… so my fish looked like the kind of fish no self-respecting Wet-Market-Auntie would even want to poke with her finger – Freshly Dead.

I really enjoyed painting the fish. Though eating them is another story altogether. *stick out tongue*


September 11: Mediterranean Vegetable Basket

From Still.Life.September

Hmm… the photography actually made the painting look rather good.

Then again, it’s probably because your eyes are drawn to the lettuce, which was totally untouched by my hands. Entirely Teacher’s credit.

I am in a dilemma. I want to do a good painting, which I am currently not yet at the skill level to do. But I am not really getting any practise when Teacher takes over. I can observe… but nothing beats learning by your own hand and effort. Right?

But I don’t really want him to stop helping either! Cause… well… I like pretty things.

It is amazing how he can visualise how the finished product looks! Because (I swear) the colour of the lettuce looks different from when it was freshly painted. I guess the oxidation of the oil paint (the process in which it dries) changes the pigment too. Fwah…

I am still a bit sore about not being able to render the peppers the way I wanted them to look.  And that translated to my lack of motivation to actually even bother with finishing up the foreground counter surface work.

Bad habit – bah!

Well, I KNOW I have painted nice peppers before.  But I guess it’s a hit-and-miss thing for beginners like me. =P

At least I think I painted at least one decent mushroom.

It matters that I try. Yes?

One can only get better with practise.

OK fine.

Till next month – One year on and what difference can we see?! Same same but different? I’m curious too.

2 Responses to “Still.Life.September: Much Ado About Food (Paintings)”

  1. Little Pixy Boots October 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    My still life during ‘O’ Levels Art exam was a fried fish! It was challenging to make a smooth fish come alive. But the fried fish had more texture 🙂 I guess for a fresh fish, you really have to pay attention to details. Good luck!


  1. Happy Anniversary Still.Life! Here’s to 35 paintings! « Still.Life. - October 23, 2011

    […] Still.Life September: Much Ado about Food (Paintings) Well, I think it can only get better and more focused as I get clearer on what I would like to achieve through this blog. […]

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