Ben Nicholson’s 1950 Still Life

Welcome to this Mindful Looking Practice with the painting 1950, Still Life by Ben Nicholson. 

Starting by taking a slightly deeper breath than usual and letting go of your shoulders as you breathe out. Slowing down and settling in to looking at the painting, noticing what draws your attention first, noticing how your eyes are moving across the image. What are your first thoughts? Do you notice any liking or disliking? Are you looking for things to label or understand? Maybe wanting to make sense of what you see, and remembering that all of this is okay. 

For the next couple of minutes, we’re just noticing without having to fix anything. Notice now if any areas of the painting appear to be coming forward or moving back.

Which part feels the furthest away, and which the closest. Are there any parts that appear to be given the spotlight, or maybe they all seem to have equal status? Now, turning your attention to lines, some drawn, some painted lines that define shapes and edges. A glass, a cup, a table, a shadow. 

Now notice in the colours, yellows, soft browns, grays. What is your sense of the temperature of these colours as you look a little longer and checking into your environment now, the sounds around you, the temperature of the air, what your body is in contact with. 

What else is there to notice as we bring this practice to a close?