Trompe L’oeil – Shoot Me

by Lisa


I just completed this beast of a painting. I don’t normally paint this tightly, but I thought the subject matter dictated a trompe l’oeil effect, so I decided to go for it. This is 30 x 30 inches on linen. Because it rained here in California all last weekend, and I had consistent light in my (not facing north) studio, I decided to tackle this painting. It took me three solid days which is a LOT for me. Very painful this style, but in the end I’m happy with it. Because I have been involved in studying ceramics lately, and recently bought this pot at the student pottery sale at the college, I decided to make a series of paintings using the pottery. This may be the only one in the series!!!

I was also interested in really studying drapery. It is hard to paint. White is also hard to paint so I wanted to challenge myself. Now I want to shoot myself. Tomorrow, in my class I intend to challenge my students with the same. I like to teach what my own head is into at the time, and in so doing, I learn from the students and they from me. (Hey, one doesn’t exactly get rich from teaching.) So I expect to hear a whole lot of whining going on tomorrow.

This entry was posted in Art Instruction, Painting, Still Life. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Trompe L’oeil – Shoot Me

  1. shea says:

    That’s good work

  2. 01varvara says:

    Hmm… my featured artist for this week (starting tomorrow) is Valery Fedotov, whose still life work is in the genre illustrated. I already have one of his still life works up on the site, and it does feature a drapery (search “Valery Fedotov” on my site and you’ll find it), albeit in white-blue-red, the colours of the Russian flag.

    Lisa, it looks as though we are working in tandem… unconsciously, of course.

    Hugs and regards,


  3. ivdanu says:

    That’s not good work, lisa; it’s GREAT work. Perfect composition, balanced AND interesting, subtle color, great texture imitation… let your student whine…the few worth teaching (I do not know them but it’s not that different… I teach also…well, nuns…but there are 1-2-3 in every group who really will learn something…)will really learn something.

  4. gypsy-heart says:

    A teacher once told me if you can paint drapery you can paint anything…you can paint anything!
    Your placement of the pot is excellent, and you rendered it beautifully.

  5. lbtowers says:

    Awe, shucks you guys are awful nice. Thanks for the comments. I keep looking at and going…nah. Oh that seed of doubt sits like a vampire on my heart and sucks and sucks.

  6. lbtowers says:

    PS Vara — Great minds think alike.

  7. alex says:

    Great work! I almost mistook the vase for real.

  8. 01varvara says:

    On one of our Russian art forums, one of the posters inquired about Fedotov’s work, saying, “Kartini ili fotografami?” (“Paintings or photographs?”) The moderator replied, simply, “Kartini!” (“Paintings!”) You asked me what medium he uses, and friends of mine more knowledgeable than I am say that he works equally in oils and acrylics.

    There is a great amount of Classical Realism in the Russian art scene today, due to the rigorous training offered at the Surikov and Repin graduate art faculties. My question to Bill and Lisa is the following: “Is Western art also following this return to realism, or is this a Russian phenomenon only?”


  9. ivdanu says:

    I don’t know what Bill and Lise will respond to that question, Varvara. In my opinion, return to realism isn’t a Russian (or for theat matter, an American) phenomenon.. It is a tendency a lot more general, following a long dictatorship of the “abstract”… And when Realism will be a dictatorship, artists will favour maybe non-figurative, again… Myself, I do both, without any discrimination…

  10. diahnott says:

    Stunning work. The drapery is so soft and, well, drapey. And I think the diaper pin is an absolutely inspired element.


  11. lbtowers says:

    Thank you diahnott. I have found myself becoming bored with typical still life set-ups and have decided to push the envelope a bit. It goes beyond just being something nice to look at it, and becomes something interesting as well–hopefully!!!

    As far as Vara’s question about realism, I distinguish between realism (tightly rendered/trompe l’oeil)and classical realism (representational, but painterly). I have certainly heard for years that classical realism is coming back into vogue. I think that may be partly because abstract work is beginning to look dated – something from a bygone era. I personally would like to see a resurgence of imaginative and allegorical works again. I say “resurgence”, but I don’t know if there was ever an actual “surge” to begin with. At any rate, an interesting genre…

  12. kevmoore says:

    this is good stuff lisa, the jug is beautifully rendered.

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  14. Rebecca says:

    Frickin’ gorgeous chica! I know the wanting to shoot yourself feeling, ’cause I paint trompe l’oeil too. Sometimes I think what’s the point, take a picture! but it is very satifying to look at it and go, Damn! how cool is that? It looks like a freakin’ photo!!! great work! I think I love you (in a way that only a hetero woman can)

  15. lbtowers says:

    I love you too Rebecca. Yes, it’s a fun little trick to have up your sleeve when you are trying to impress a room full of people who can only relate to things that look LIKE FREAKING PHOTOS!!!

  16. Dar says:

    At first glance it is quiet and elegant. I sat looking at it for like an hour(with one potty break and a snack break). I love how you threw a cloth over a painting and raised up a pitcher to a place of importance, and the fabric folds point toward it. I’m completely hip-mo-tized. The safety pin and the hanging threads are keepin’ it real in another sense. I pointed out to my husband that this would look great in our living room. The realism is expert, but the composition is what wows me.

  17. lbtowers says:

    Thank you Dar. It is for sale (I’ll give you a great deal on it since it hasn’t gone to a gallery yet), and I agree that it would look GREAT over your sofa!!! Tell your husband I concur.

  18. Pixie Glore says:

    It is a fantastic piece! I just found your blog through brushspace and really enjoy it. Did you know that the old masters used to put the fabric in plaster to keep the folds the same? I thought that would be a great thing to do for students. They’d wine less! I can really relate to the suffering when doing something realistic. I often want to shoot myself once i’ve started too. I think I kind of get bored. Impressionism is so fun and easy by comparison. But then I start feeling guilty that I’m not “working hard enough!”


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