At the AAC, still life is taught differently from cast and figure painting. Still life painting is regarded as the student's first foray into complete picture-making, as opposed to a
straightforward exercise in the form rendering of a number of objects. The instructional emphasis shifts to helping the students develop their pictorial thinking skills. In other words, getting the
art into the realism. (This is an important distinction.)
Thus, a number of small exploratory studies are executed, each addressing a different formal aspect related to the picture — a color strategy, for example. This often involves thinking
more about how the objects should look than how they do look. From a traditional perspective, no matter how naturalistic, romantic or classical one wishes one's still life to
appear, the subject must be artistically transformed.