The Tension of Scissors

Today in art class we were practicing composition and tension. By tension, it was less the walking-on-eggshells-when-someone’-pissed and more working with line intersection; breaking the subject off the side of the painting, and being bold with colour juxtapositionz. We looked at Richard Diebenkorn for inspiration, and painted scissors, pliars, glasses – whatever was available/that we’d brought.

Richard Dibenkorn’s “Scissors and Lemon”

I hadn’t brought anything so I borrowed some shears from the studio, and at the suggestion of our class leader added some origami papers in complimentary colours for extra backgroud interest and – as our goal of the class was – tension.

It’s been a while since drawing from life – and even longer since painting from life. Therefore I took special care arranging my still life and came up with this.


Drew it on my board first.


Did a wash in complimentary colours (aka painted green what I’d paint red, painted red what I’d paint green or white for a zingy underpainting that would make the overpainting pop out).


Then came the overpainting layer and blocking in of the scissors.


After worked on adding texture, giving zing to the edges, and working in reflections and colour pick-ups in the scissors.


Then came painting the background white (messily so the red breaks through), putting more details on the scissors, and voila!


I’m actually really proud of this painting. I feel like for the first time I’m getting the hang of composition, realistic drawing, and paint handling all at once. These classes have really been helping.

4 thoughts on “The Tension of Scissors

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s