When was the last time you saw an apple that looked like this? What happened to the bruises and dents? How about the blend of colors and lopsidedness? The perfect stem and bright green leaf have become symbolic representations of what apples look like, however, rarely do they appear this way in nature or even at the grocery store. Whatever happened to celebrating apples for how they truly look? Fear not! Our Maury kindergartners and first graders set out to paint 4 varieties of apples exactly as they observed them in collaboration with the 1st grade apple unit of study in their classrooms! The fall time fruit became a favorite subject for our realistic still-life unit where we also learned how to blend acrylic paint on a palette, add a horizon line to divide the foreground from the background, and include highlights and shadows to give depth to our 3D forms painted in 2D.
We talked about why artists paint realistic still life paintings in the first place and determined that before cameras were invented, it was a great way to capture an object as it appeared at the time. Artists were, and still are, documentations. They were relied upon to create realistic accounts of things like plants and human anatomy for science. It is also helpful for artists to have non-living subjects to study for long periods of time when learning how to master techniques such as light and shadow, because people can be way less patient that vases, fruit, and old books. Lastly, still life paintings typically include objects of importance to the artist or patron. They may hold symbolism, such as a bible indicating the devout nature of a person or sentimental value, such as including a precious family heirloom in the piece.
Our student still life paintings are truly remarkable! I am so impressed by their advanced technique and ability to capture an object as it actually appears. Bravo, young artists! Keep celebrating life’s imperfections and bringing beauty to the every day object!