I love this genre because still life painting opens our eyes to many things. Firstly it is an opportunity to find beauty and spirit in the humblest of things. The inanimate world, its atmosphere, and revealing light, under careful observation, teaches how wonderful the world around us already is. We just have to look with repose and awareness.
Secondly I have found that still life work is a great way to express our emotions and brighten our spirit in a very unique and personalised language. I place objects and manipulate light so I am able to convey my current feelings through them. The creative process itself sometimes is like a metaphor about life as it has its highs and lows like our own personal stories. Through it I learn to deal with all sorts of difficulties and come to the other side, if I am lucky, triumphantly at the end. Objects in a way are like people; beautiful, individual, sometimes brave, other times shy or humble, always with stories to tell, feelings to communicate, and a individual role to play.
Perhaps to my surprise over the years I have also realised how mindful this practice is. I find it a great tool to explore our own consciousness as there are not severe time constraints like in portraiture painting, or landscape work so my attention can also be spent inwardly. I am mindfully present to the act of painting stroke by stroke, highly focused, and in communion with the subject and the light that reveals it, which it is the real subject after all. It becomes Art as a Mindful Practice. Depicting light begins to be a structural pillar and guiding principle; matter and energy embedded in the web of reality. Therefore light and our own consciousness reveal the soul, beauty, and intrinsic value of everything.
Another aspect this genre allows me to explore is the craft of picture making; light effects, materiality, composition, and colour become tools of deepening knowledge and expression. Ideas might start as doodles in my sketchbook. Later they are materialised using Impressionist or Flemish oil painting methods, or an amalgamation of both. Thus these artworks more often than not express a Tonal Impressionist style with a Baroque undertone. They are painted in oils over a traditional panel or stretched linen to maximise archival qualities. Broad and simple, always looking for luminosity to inspire and brighten our lives; they make us think and reflect.
Finally, as they are a personal expression of my inner and outer worlds, they are precious to me and I feel honoured when they also resonate with someone who might not know me personally but feel a deep and magical connection to a specific painting.