Nicholas Baxter

Notes & Advice 12: What To Consider When Setting Up A Still Life

Discussing some of the subtler points of still life setup with Jake Meeks of Fireside Tattoo Network and Podcast.

Part of my alla prima still life painting workshop for sale on the fireside website in video module format.

My 20-Step Program for Perfect Art Reproductions

If you’re a painter or visual artist working in any traditional media, capturing digital images of your work is practically a requirement nowadays, and has been for a while. I don’t know any artist who could survive without getting images of their work onto the internet, submitted to publications, made into prints, or a variety of other applications that require a quality reproduction. And quality is the key word here: representing yourself with a poor version of your work will hurt your chances of success.

 

You wouldn’t think that capturing quality images of a completely still, flat object in a controlled indoor setting would be one of the most challenging photography jobs, but it is. I’ve actually paid pro photographers to shoot images of my paintings, and gotten a disc full of yellow-tinted garbage and flat-out unusable files, because those photographers weren’t well versed in the highly specific nuances of this photography application.

(untitled), oil on linen panel, 8 x 10 inches, 2016

The details matter here, and skipping any of the major or sometimes even minor steps will usually compromise the end result, to varying degrees. With so many factors that can go wrong, it’s wise when possible to devote an area of your studio to this, with dedicated lighting, equipment, and pre-measured distances and angles.

 

Depending on the level of compromise or imprecision in your studio setup, the more editing of your raw files you’ll need to do on your computer. But even the best photography results will still require basic cropping and picky stuff like smoothing over a blown pixel from your camera’s sensor, or eliminating a small cat hair that somehow floated and stuck to the painting (cats are thoughtful like that, always trying to help…).

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Recent Painting Progressions

I love process in art–seeing it, knowing how things are made, reverse engineering them, speculatively forward-engineering them, reflecting on my own process and learning from that reflection… so enjoy these progressions of 2 recent paintings.

1. “Vernal Fugue”, oil on panel, 18 x 24, 2019

(progress detail)

“Vernal Fugue”, oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches, 2019

“Vernal Fugue” (details)

 

2. “Civilization”, oil on panel, 36 x 48 inches, 2019-2020

“Civilization”, oil on panel, 36 x 48 inches, 2019-2020