Still life set up suggestions

I'm not concerned about the lighting yet, but would like some input on the placement of the objects. I'm also not sure about the drape.  I tried about 10 different pieces of cloth and this was the best of the lot. Appreciate suggestions.


  • I have been having trouble getting the pic and the comment on at the same time.
  • There is too much drapery.  You should crop about the bottom third of the image.  The objects on the table are too small relative to the drapery in the front.
    How do the objects relate to each other?  The book and it’s title relate to the wheat grain but how do those relate to the horse and candle? 
    The candle is a bit small and is lost against the pattern on the fabric.
    I do like your green and cream color scheme.
  • edited July 20
    Nice colour scheme, @oilpainter1950.  I like red and green. I think this could work given the right lighting so that the objects become more prominent against the fabric. The horse, books etc would be the stars of the show against a mainly subdued/mostly shaded but still sumptuous background of fabric. I agree with @GTO about losing some of the lower section. 

    I love your still lifes and I'm sure you will make this one work well. I'll be interested to see a photo of the set up after you have the lighting in place. :)
  • @oilpainter1950
    I love all the objects. I'd like to see ceramic horse to be separated from it's deep shadowing  and all the tight folds. It seems the main object to me. Forward of the books. Try different light set ups. Top light like a shadow box. Side light like from a softly lite window. The horse is a very interesting object. Made even more so alone with the drapery. The simplicity of the two together may be more powerful.
  • I agree with Kingston. It's very busy and my eye doesn't know where to go. Simplify. Also, I'd extend the drapery to eliminate the grey wall behind. It's not very interesting and looks like a mistake. Perhaps if it dropped off to black by flagging off the light in that corner.
  • @oilpainter1950, Just some off the cuff ideas here, for your consideration.

     I would, (and am going to for myself), make your shadow box a foot deeper to let in some air and room for shadows, drape the curtain fabric across the whole back of the box, move the table cover so the fringe is cropped out and exchange the blue book out for one that isn’t blue. 

    Since the red book is in bad condition, and it’s the most saturated of the reds in your still life, it will stand out drawing attention to that, I would find a book, or other large object, of maybe what Mark calls a “dirty red”, in excellent condition, to make the horse’s color really pop and keep it the star of the show.

    I would also exchange the  horse and pile of books positions so the horse looks like it’s entering the painting not leaving it.

    I like how you’ve arranged the horse and candle with candlestick relationship. I see how you have positioned the wheat to lead the eye around. I think you just need a deeper stage to allow for the eye to be lead around in a less cramped way with more atmospherics.
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