August 12, 2012

It’s More Than That

I was asked by a friend the other day why I paint food, fruit, vegetables etc. Actually her exact words were: “Aren’t you tired of painting fruit, I swear you’re always painting some round thing”.

At the time I was painting an onion. Somewhat perplexed by the question, I stopped for a second. I actually was not sure what to say. I knew the answer but didn’t know how to explain it, and I should know. I responded…

“No, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of still life, because it’s not just fruit, it’s more than that.”

With that said it was clear to me that, perhaps as an artist, my intentions and philosophy behind my work haven’t quite been communicated so well. And I had not yet found a way to explain it in person. After all, is everyone else thinking “she just paints food”??

Along with portraits and figurative works, you will also find an abundance of still life works within my portfolio.

I feel that one can take a common object and create something beautiful and meaningful. Many of us have objects around our home that have some personal value to us, but perhaps not to others. I’m intrigued by what is – but rarely noticed. By remaining highly sensitive to the subtleties of light and shadow, I use still life to create intimate reflections of everyday life. Finding beauty in the common place is important to me as a form of reflection, appreciation and gratitude… THIS is what I want to communicate.

For example, eggs are very delicate, easily broken yet possess something very valuable within them. Thus, we’ll often take great care not to break them. Yet they are interesting reflective of people, just as delicate and valuable yet we don’t seem to care for people just as well. In addition to this I simply think they have a lovely shape and reflect light in a beautiful way.

“The themes for a still life painting can be personal, cultural, societal, mythological, religious or philosophical and existential. Or, they can be based on qualities such as color, texture, phrasing etc. Such themes can overlap to weave a richly layered tapestry of theme and meaning within a single artwork.”

So go ahead and ask me now, why do I paint still life, I’m ready this time!!

I use still life to create reflections of everyday life, to show that even the simplest of objects can have personal value, and that beauty can be found in a common place,  for which we must be appreciative and grateful.

Have you ever wondered why artist paint what they do? Or perhaps you are an artist that has had a similar experience… tell me about it!



  • Lora Banks August 16, 2012

    I often wonder too, why I am draw to still life objects (especially dessert) You put a hard to explain topic in very eloquent terms.
    Do you find that there are certain objects you return to time and time again?

    • Vanessa September 8, 2012

      Hi Lora, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I do tend to return to still life quite often and in particular eggs! I am however trying to widen my range of work so that I can still implement my favorite subject manner by from different angles and still life arrangements perhaps.

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