In most dynamic compositions, the artist uses contrast and diagonal or serpentine pathways to lead the viewer in and around the painting. Morandi did the opposite with his still lifes. He grouped similar dust covered objects together to become one object instead of several interacting objects. He minimized differences to create a sense of quiet stillness and unity. Then he put these objects in the middle of an almost-square composition, with ample space around them. This is called a static composition, and while it doesn’t command and direct the viewer’s attention immediately, it does whisper to a viewer to slow down, lean in, and notice the smallest moments of subtlety. Most of Morandi’s still life bottles are clustered together in the middle of the canvas, with a lot of space around them. See how in the unusual painting shown here, even though there’s an object touching the right edge of the canvas, the object is almost the same color as the background, with lines across that imitate the horizon line, so it’s barely there at all. Look below at the painting with the object removed. Morandi’s still life vs Photoshop manipulation In the Photoshopped image below, notice how I haven’t changed the colors much but I have removed the brush strokes that give the painting subtle variations in color and value. See how the absolute flatness causes our gaze to jump around impatiently, while the subtle variations slow us down to look? Morandi’s still life vs Photoshop manipulation comparing subtle color and value variation vs flat color Look what happens when I flatten the colors and straighten the warble in the lines in the image below. Morandi’s still life vs Photoshop manipulation comparing subtle variation vs straight and flat Both images manipulated in Photoshop to show effects of decreasing vs increasing contrast in color and value Morandi still life paintings Day 10: Morandi #30SAL Today’s COMPOSITIONAL challenge: Create a still life in which objects are grouped and sized similarly. Tips: See how quiet you can get your creation to be. Without repeating the same object multiple times, minimize differences in similar objects. Compress value, color, line, shape, size, and form. Work within a nearly square-ish format, and allow a lot of space between your objects and the edge of your composition. As usual, media for this creative challenge is artist’s choice. You can draw, paint, collage, assemblage, photograph, or play with your food. Post your work To be eligible for prizes (yes prizes!) at the end of the month, post your work to Instagram with #30sal. Deadline for posting: 3 days after each post. January prize winners will be announced in February. Post to Instagram with #30SAL so we can find it. To find more followers for your page, you can cut/paste these to your post: #30sal #morandi #composition #vnotes #creativechallenge #januarychallenge #drawingchallenge #drawing #art #sketch #artchallenge #artist #draw #artistsoninstagram #sketchbook #instaart #artwork #drawingoftheday #dailydrawing #inkdrawing #drawingsketch #artoftheday #creativity Padlet Don’t have Instagram? You can post your work to Padlet. DAY 10: MORANDI DAY 9: SCRIBBLE LINE Day 8: REVERSE COLLAGE Don’t Delay! Deadline for submissions: 3 days after each challenge post. January prize winners will be announced in February. To learn more about the 30SAL Challenge, click here.