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For some, painting from life means painting a portrait with a live model. For others, it’s going outdoors to paint from nature.
But those things aren’t always easy to arrange. For some artists, they may be impossible.
But anyone can paint from life, in their own home, using real objects and the light from a window, or even artificial light.
Painting from life is the best way to truly capture values, colors, shapes, and form.
Seeing the world by painting a still life, from life, is a turning point for hobbyists and experienced artists alike, opening a whole new world of exploration, beauty, and possibility.
Yet not every artist can do a believable, dynamic, and “museum-quality” still life. It’s not just about painting from real objects and real light, though those are important, it’s also about how to set up a still life to please the eye and make an exceptional painting. It’s about learning to control the light to create the feeling and mood you wish to convey.
And who better to teach you than Stephanie Birdsall, who does masterful still life and floral paintings?
“When you paint from life, the subject, the environment, and you interact as one together.” — StephanieBirdsall
Stephanie Birdsall has been an artist her entire life.
She’s always had the impulse to express herself on canvas, and followed that impulse to London, where she trained at the prestigious City and Guilds of London Art School.
After graduation, she traveled around Europe to hone her skills, and she eventually settled back in the U.S., where she currently works with living legends like Doug Dawson, Albert Handell, Ramon Kelley, and Richard Schmid.
She also is living the artist’s dream, traveling the world, spending part of each year in Rome, and working out of her dream studio in Connecticut.
How does she support herself to travel, have her dream studio, and live in Rome? It starts by having work in demand by top galleries. This is the goal of most artists, and it starts with improving your own technique.
Over her career, Stephanie has collected a stunning number of accolades and awards, including:
Best in Show at the Bridgeport Museum of Art and Science
The Grumbacher Gold Medallion
The Degas Pastel Society Exceptional Merit Award
Selected by the National Academy of the Arts for inclusion in the Arts for the Parks National Exhibition
Featured in popular publications such as International Artist Magazine, Southwest Art, PleinAir, Fine Art Connoisseur, and The Pastel Journal
Stephanie paints all kinds of still life scenes, plus lots of florals, but her favorite thing to paint is something so simple, common, and often overlooked…
It’s something we may well have in the fridge, always see in the grocery store, and that we use to add zesty flavor to our food…
Ripe yellow lemons…
…young green lemons…
Here’s where it all started:
Years ago, when she was living out in Tucson, Arizona, Stephanie was given a lemon tree.
She was delighted.
She’d never painted a lemon tree before.
So she did what any great still life painter would do: She took some lemons inside and began painting.
And as she continued to paint, instead of seeing a lemon and its leaves, she saw shapes, colors, and values.
The way one shape interacted with the shape next to it started jumping out at her.
The colors of one object influenced the colors of the object next to it.
But what does this all mean for you?
Well, now that Stephanie has perfected the still life with lemons, it’s not only her favorite subject to paint, her lemon paintings are her top sellers. It turns out people have a love affair with lemons.
And Stephanie is going to teach you exactly how she does it, from start to finish.
Though she’ll be painting lemons, the objects in your still life can be anything you choose — teacups, oranges, jewelry, flowers, old car parts...
All that matters is your desire, commitment, and excitement about painting.
And if you have those qualities, now is your opportunity to learn the skills to begin painting with a whole new level of understanding.
Lemons and Leaves: The Natural Still Life with Stephanie Birdsall
In this still life painting course, Stephanie Birdsall takes you deep inside her artistic process...
…revealing exactly how she paints a still life with breathtaking beauty and simplicity.
You’ll discover her secrets to setting up your scene…
…while also gaining the confidence to jump into your painting without knowing exactly what will come next.
Stephanie has a unique ability to teach you how to paint with intention, even if you don’t know exactly where you’re going.
What do we mean by that?
Well, most artists become paralyzed at some point by fear.
They struggle to get started because they can never get their still life set up perfectly, or because they face a blank canvas and don’t know how to make that first move.
Others find that when they make a mistake on canvas, they aren’t confident they have the skills to correct it and leave it alone…
…and end up with a painting they don’t love.
That’s an absolute tragedy...
…because we paint for the sheer joy of the experience and want a finished product we love.
Stephanie will take you through her process, revealing how she jumps into a painting...
…how she figures out what to paint…
…and exactly how she handles mistakes in the process (even though she’s an expert, she makes mistakes too!).
Look at the painting secrets you’ll discover in this training:
· Why Stephanie has no formula for how she starts a painting (and how you can discover where you’re heading in your painting AFTER you begin)
· How to set up your scene to create a rhythm among the objects, as if they’re performing a choreographed dance
· The steps Stephanie takes to figure out why her painting might feel “off” (and what she does when she figures it out)
· Why it’s important to create a “happy marriage” of the objects in your painting, and how to make it happen
· The one book Stephanie considers her color “bible” and how she uses it to make sure her paintings always come out looking just right
· How a painting “grows” on the canvas, and what you can do to account for that before you ever make a brushstroke
· An essential rule she learned from one of the greatest living realist painters
· How “intentional painting” can help you rapidly improve your painting abilities
· How Stephanie uses the edges of objects in certain paintings to bring a scene “into focus”
· What Stephanie is fanatical about and how it will affect your finished product
· Why Stephanie only mixes a small amount of paint on her canvas (even though that makes painting more challenging)
· A trick for giving yourself a brand-new perspective on your painting when you’re almost finished, but not 100 percent done
· How the weight of your strokes influences the color on the canvas (especially when you’re putting one color on top of another)
· Why painting lemons is like painting a ball of wound string
· Why Stephanie “paces” when she’s painting, and how that helps her craft the most complete painting possible
· When it’s OK to deviate from what you see in front of you (and when you should stick to what you see)
· When to paint stems into your painting, and how they have an outsize impact on the finished painting
· The specific situations where it’s OK to add color notes to your drawing before you begin painting
· Stephanie’s unique technique for learning from the masters
· What tools you should bring to a workshop to make sure you create the best painting possible. (Hint: Don’t go out and buy all new materials!)
· Why you can change anything at any time, and why you SHOULD if you don’t like the way something looks
· And many, many more tips and techniques for create fascinating and vibrant still life paintings.