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  • Writer's pictureLandon Clay


I painted this still life while a student at the Grand Central Atelier over a month and a half. It was a great project to learn from. Although I had previously focused primarily on portraiture and figures, I always appreciate when I can get locked into a still life that has significance to me. Of course, not every still life appeals to me, but when they do, they speak volumes.

In my work, I strive for fidelity to nature. By intentionally observing the natural world following this precept, I use my eyes and the tools at my disposal to represent this perception.

Like most of my projects, I first gradually refined a graphite drawing before transferring the graphic drawing to a canvas using an oil transfer method practiced by artists for centuries. Then, after transferring the image to canvas, I slowly tweaked values and colors, approaching the final image with thoughtful application and consideration.

This still life is an appreciative meditation to the means of my craft, and the title references the perceptive ability required to portray nature convincingly. The colored pencils, notebook, and eraser are enough to carefully record an impression of nature and create a new but connected image of that object, landscape, or being in the mind of another, mediated through the painting. By choosing this reverse pyramidal composition, I wanted to emphasize the importance of all the objects as part of the whole process, rather than choose one particular tool as most important. In addition to balancing the image orthogonally, this composition distributes the eye’s attention on all the objects relatively equally. The triangular white hard eraser counter-poses the white pencil and acts as ballast to leather notebook jacket’s and the pencils’ chromatic explosions. Each object, though similar in appearance, has its own particular function.

I do not always share the process images of works, but I saved some of them. These show the drawing on paper and the early stages on the way to completion. It's interesting to look back at them, sometimes years later, and imagine the hours spent concentrating while painting.


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