Year 8 Still Life studies

Here we can see Year 8s studying the realist painter Janet Fish. Key Stage 3 art students at Eastbrook School always work from direct observation and are taught how to research artists and their styles, giving them foundational skills to take into Key Stage 4. Highly developed students, such as Deimante here using the mini light studio and glasses, are always challenged to work from primary sources – an extremely difficult task for anyone!

Janet Fish is best known for her still life paintings of familiar and everyday objects like fruit, flowers, and glassware, which she sources from her home, travels, and flea markets.

Born in 1938, Fish creates large, bold, still life paintings and drawings that study how light bounces through and off various surfaces. Among her favourite subjects are produce encased in plastic wrap, clear glassware and liquids.  Other subjects include teacups, flower bouquets, textiles with interesting patterns, goldfish, vegetables, and mirrored surfaces.

Her work has been characterized as photorealist, although she does not consider herself a “photorealist,” possibly objecting to the way “photorealism” infers that the source view is the camera, and not the eye of the artist.  Elements such as composition and use of colour demonstrate her point of view as a painter rather than a photographer.

For Fish, the central subjects of her works are not the objects themselves, but the effects of light and “the complex relationship of colour and form from one area of the painting to another. Eventually everything is intertwined.” The artist sometimes spends entire days creating arrangements of objects in different light to paint. She attributes her attraction to vivid colour to time spent in Bermuda as a child.