Vanitas – Still life containing symbols of death or change as a reminder of their inevitability
To remember the meaning of vanitas use the following mnemonic:
She finds vanity units and tars (vanitas) them in situ in the bathroom. This is supposed to symbolise the death of animals from oil slicks.
Create your own vanitas artwork, with a modern twist!
Not everyone will have a skull lying around, but a Halloween decoration will make a good stand-in.
Find some objects around your home that could represent the inevitability of the passing of time, such as a candle, an alarm clock and some flowers. Add some other modern touches such as headphones, sunglasses, a mobile phone or some fast-food packaging. Use a table lamp or phone torch to light the objects in an interesting way.
Take a photo of your composition and, using the Mammoth Memory Grid method, sketch it out onto a canvas or paper.
Colour it in your chosen medium. Acrylic or oil paint is best if you want to capture the deep contrasting light and bright colours.
Slowly build up the colours.
Once you have the colours of the objects, fill in the background and add any finishing touches, such as the flame.
You could also create a more natural piece, using an animal skull and bright, beautiful flowers and some pretty pebbles.
Watercolour can be used for a lighter image. Remember to start with the lightest colours first and work your way darker.