What is a still life?

On Thursday evening I was asked about my painting and why I paint still lifes. The person asking me this question went on to say that she really did not "get" still lifes. She wondered if they were just technique or composition. I can understand that some people may not get emotionally involved with the genre that is still life, as all art appreciation is very individual and personal. As the discussion progressed, there were a few more people at the table that agreed with her and asked me to elaborate...

My answer was that in still life paintings I get an opportunity to focus on items that are in everyday life and items that most people are familar with, and then I interpret it and share my vision of this simple item that brings about a greater awareness and appreciation of this object. For me, life is about appreciating and enjoying what is around you. By enabling opportunities where your awareness of specific items or surroundings are increased, life becomes more full and full of new opportunities. I love it when I learn about a new item or even an idea that I never encountered before, all of the sudden the world has just opened to me a new avenue, a new opportunity to investigate.

In my life, I try to make the most of it. I like the adventure of new surroundings, new people, and with still life, the new posibilities of appreciating any object, has just made my daily life become more full and colorful. I may not always succeed in presenting this world view in my still lifes, that is the artist journey I am on now. How to paint well and present my message in an effective and creative way.

Tonight I investigated some other websites that discuss still lifes. Here are a few links to ones I liked:

Wikipedia has a great article on still lifes. This website is a great glossary of many art terms. And here is a blog that goes into great detail about what a still life is. If you get a chance do not miss out on this!

Tomorrow I will post a small painting of very common items that I believe represents how simple items can be grouped and presented in a manner that increases appreciation for the simple things in life... Until next time, Liz