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Mistakes and symbolism of Still Life Painting

Mistakes and symbolism of Still Life Painting

Monday January 28, 2019,

4 min Read

A perfect still life painting is not easy to bring on paper! It demands a lot of concentration and a check on small details to bring the best out of it. Doing small changes, a painting can be given life, which is noticeable when it makes heads turn every time. Still life painters work on the paintings’ shapes and shadows to bring accuracy to the product and as practice makes a man perfect, there are some common mistakes too that many artists still do and should be avoided. We have collected those common mistakes that are normal for everybody on an initial stage, check out and look if you too do the same errors while painting still life portraits.

still life painting

Give the subject its breathing room

At the initial stage, most painters do this mistake of focusing too heavily on the object of the portrait. This creates a vision for the viewer that the image has an irrational feel and is made within confined spaces. Avoiding too much focus on the object, the portrait is made appealing and gives it a breathing space there is no too tight picture that the can ruin the views. Still, life painting should be started by having 50% of the background space vacant to give the picture a roomier look.

Do not miss-direct the viewer

It is advised not to misdirect the viewers’ eyes by having a too tight crop. However, it is recommended to have the image directed towards a downward directional angle also. This is because it brings the viewer to take a glance over the bottom and centre of the scene to make the picture look soothing. The painting is more calm and attractive when is combined in a calm way with casting the shadow of the object to make it more appealing.

Visualizing Ellipses

Making the viewer aware and exaggerated over what the main color/texture/quality of the painting product has, makes the canvas look realistic and gives a reason to the sketch to be more engaging. The shape of the painting matters a lot and small changes in it can make or break the painting’s look.

Classical view

The natural tendency of a picture is to give more views with a look inside the picture. However, to make it more alluring, the still life paintings have to be wider for better views. To design the portrait to offer a strong perspective, the sketch has to be subtle and one that describes the picture in detail. Classical view, of painting, is when the bottom of the depiction is wider, the picture gives detail about its inner self and is attractive and engaging to the onlooker.

Go for the elevated view

Every painter wants her/his painting to give an elevated view so that it is easier to understand the picture. Paintings having elevated views develop a shadow that is wider and more confined. The light source of creation also changes it much and makes it appealing in many ways that may many times go unnoticed.


Choosing the wrong palette can bring color chaos and can result in wrong painting methods. Putting on a wrong color can ruin the whole effect of your painting, so check before even putting on the nude shades. Laying out the palette works by boosting fast performance.


Generally, many things of still life painting are said to be selected from religious traditions and are shown to carry a symbolic meaning. Each of these paintings has some significance and many times symbolize modern-day activities. Although not all of these still paintings, have symbolism and was originated in post-Renaissance Western art. Mostly still paintings at that time included portraits of food in tombs and temples and these creations were flat and were represented graphically. Greeks also painted still portraits that included vases, wall paintings, etc. This painting type became an art in the 16th century and gained fame in the 17th century. Not only this, these portraits used to be known as a status symbol and were very expensive at those times. Many artists sold their creations in auctions and art lovers happily bought them.