Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Still Life Workshop with Kerry Dunn

This five day workshop explored the building stages of a painting from beginning to finish. Still life is ideal for this type of study because it provides a subject and a light source that are constant. The first day students set up individual still life arrangements and executed painting thumbnails in order to determine the composition for the final painting. On day two students begin the final painting which they had four days to develop. Each morning Kerry worked on a demo painting from 9 to 10:30 A.M.

The first painting stage consists of the initial grisaille where drawing and proportion are strictly observed. Here is Kerry's demo of a grisaille and color block-in. Notice how the grisaille is painted gesturally, with energy and freedom.

Subsequent stages move into the full color block-in where abstract value and color relationships are established and adjusted. The larger-to-smaller shape principle is observed as we move through this process.

Demo of the beginning stage of the painting: color block-in. The shapes are simple and clear.

Here is an image of Kerry's set up with his demo painting. There is one light source, a simple clip light hidden behind the painting.

The demo set up has a clear separation of light and shadow on the objects and background.

Class discussions centered on the concept of light on form, establishing value and color parameters, edge development, paint handling, focal points, and determining when a work is considered complete. Above is a demo of a ball illustrating the effect of light on form, and the component parts. The lights on the ball are conceptualized as bands, which become broader as they are nearer to the light source.

These two images show students working on their still life paintings.
To see more of Kerry Dunn's work, go to


  1. Hi, Natalie,
    Thanks for visiting my site.
    This is a great idea to do for Studio Incamminati.
    Thanks for posting these items and good luck with the new blog.
    This makes me feel like I am back at the workshop. It was a great experience.
    Won't be long before you get lots of followers and some new students, I bet.
    Cathyann Burgess

  2. Thanks, Cathyann. I hope the information on the blog will be helpful to students who have previously attended workshops at Studio Incamminati.

  3. From Luis Vilela via email.....I really enjoyed Kerry's workshop! - I haven't practiced still life in a while, but, it was not just the still life's exercise, it was the amount and variety of art-info he's passed onto us.
    That's why I keep coming back to Incamminati: to learn new things, and remember what I've learnt in the past and, somehow, got hidden in my brain.

    This was emailed to me from Luis vilela, and I am posting it with his permission...thanks Luis