Still Life is one of the most basic forms of art and is a wonderful beginning point to introduce students into unifying perspective, size relationships, negative space, and eventually, value into a finished piece.
The objective of this instructable is to create a system for personal and classroom use to easily construct Still Lives.
Step 1: Ask Students to Collect Household Items.
Good Items to suggest:
Jars of Various sizes
Empty Perfume Bottles
Plastic Bottles (like detergent or milk)
Make sure that every container is empty and clean. No one wants a spoiled milk and old shoe surprise.
Check with the school handbook to see if things like alcohol bottles are prohibited. They'd be empty of course, but tolerance rules differ from school to school. (I think Jack Daniels bottles look really sweet, but that's just me.)
You could also skip this step and just assemble some of these yourself for the students to use. If you go this route, you could label how difficult each collection is so the student knows what they're getting into ahead of time.
(I apologize for the awful quality of my pictures, the only camera I own is my webcam.)
Step 2: Start Drawing
It would be a good idea to have them do a few of these, each time arranging the items in a different way or drawing from a different angle. That way, the student can actually see the improvements they are making.
Step 3: Switch!
This is particularly useful because the students can bounce ideas off one another and learn by seeing what another student does with their collection that they may not have thought about.
You can pull these out in between other projects you have them complete or they could pick one for a free project. They're a really good resource to have in the classroom and doing it this way allows the student to have the freedom to choose the subject and makes them think about the whole picture, about composition and placement. When you're done with them, you just stack them in a cupboard somewhere so they're out of the way. Eventually you might just acquire enough boxes (by students donating or forgetting them) that you won't need students to bring them in anymore.
They're also useful to the professional artist as a way to organize groups of objects they would like to do a series on.
Step 4: More Examples
Good luck and happy composing!