Still Life: Detail, Plant In Clay Pot by John Stermer

Still Life Painting: “Plant In A Clay Pot”

Introducing A Favorite Still Life.

Greetings!  I’d like to share with you a John Stermer still life painting.  Titled “Plant In A Clay Pot”, this is another favorite.  

Just a pause here for full disclosure, I have many favorites; it comes with being one of the artist’s daughters.

Incidentally, there are some compositional notes about this painting I particularly like.  Come to think of it, maybe that is the reason, in part, that this painting is a personal favorite.

What I’m talking about is the use of complimentary colors; the figure and ground relationship.  Also, there is a subtle nod to Cubism.  I’ll explain a bit more about what I mean below.

Still Life: Plant In Clay Pot

Complimentary Colors.

The painting is composed around a two complimentary colors: green and red.  Incidentally, this is a compositional device that you will see in many John Stermer paintings.  

What I like about the use of complimentary colors is that they bring out the best in each other. 

Figure and Ground.

Another compositional device that Dad used was alternating colors between the figure, (the potted plant) and ground (background and foreground).  To explain consider the way the warm red of the background at the top of the painting is linked to the reddish pot toward the bottom.  

And, you could say the same about the greens.    That is, they move from plant as the subject down to the green foreground.

Put in a different way, the flow of the color from subject to ground sest up a nice movement from the top to bottom of the still life, then back up again.

Nod To Cubism: Disrupted Lines.  

Dad purposely did things like having connecting lines be disjointed or disrupted.  In this instance, I am referring to the rim of the clay pot.  

Still Life: Detail, Plant in Clay Pot

If you’ll notice in the detail image, I have enclosed part of the pot in a white oval.  The rim of the pot does not connect; there is just a small disruption.  It is a discreet nod to Cubism.  

Personally, I think it adds a bit of rhythm to a seemingly simple composition!  And, I like it!

Subject: Something In The Studio.

As I remember it, the subject of this painting was a rubber plant that someone had given to my Dad.  He had it in his studio and decided to paint a picture of it one day. 

Which brings me to one of Dad’s favorite sayings: “The subject is just the excuse to paint.  And, I find excuses every day!”

I hope you enjoy “Plant In Clay Pot”.  Thank you.



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