Emma Copley – Painting a Still Life and Seeing Colour

Emma Copley

painting a still life - Shell Subject Matter
Shell Subject Matter


Artist Educator, Emma Copley demonstrates in this beautifully illustrated resource, a step-by-step method for producing a painting of a shell, or similar object, in gouache.

This project was shared with AccessArt as part of the 40 Artist Educator Project, funded by Arts Council England, aiming to highlight and celebrate artist-led teaching and facilitation.

Seeing and Painting a Shell by Emma Copley

These instructions are for painting a picture of a shell in gouache*, however you can use any object that is limited in colour, an egg or a mushroom would also work. The techniques taught in this resource can be adapted to any learner age and ability, as well as any painting medium.

I have developed this method over many years and use it to create many of my own paintings; especially of trompe l’oeil objects. I have delivered this painting method in many of my adult education classes with great results. My students have enjoyed the simple exercises that lead up to the painting and always come away with a new view of how to get started with their own work. You will begin to understand how to find colour in objects that seemingly don’t have any, how to work in a limited palette and how to inject your own personality into those choices.

*A form of opaque watercolour.

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