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Arts Toolkit

Arts Toolkit: Visual Arts Video Clips

Realism: Still Life



Danville painter Sheldon Tapley begins this segment at the first stage of his usual method: a Masonite panel primed with gesso and a light hue that sets the original tone for the work to come. He then demonstrates the deliberate and measured approach he uses in painting, brushstroke by gentle brushstroke. Tapley gives viewers a look into his sketchbook, full of notes and initial ideas for new work, and discusses his use of specially customized brushes. From a loose interpretation of the composition in the early stages, he allows his love of the medium and subject matter to develop into a vibrant, detailed vision of objects in space.

Suggested Uses:

  • Use to spark a discussion about artists’ methods and intentions as well as the creative process in general. Have students create art based on the video and your discussion.
  • Use in conjunction with a discussion of the definition of realism.
  • Compare and contrast the techniques and methods different artists use in their approach to the same medium.
  • Use in conjunction with a study of still life paintings found on the Kentucky Virtual Art Museum CD-ROM. Does Tapley’s process help explain techniques and processes that might have been employed by painters whose still lifes students found in the museum? Discuss the tradition of still-life painting.
  • Use the segment as part of a “careers in the arts” unit or as an introductory activity before an artist-in-residence visits your classroom.

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