Inspiring Still Life

Daisies and Brushes
16 x12

William Nicholson

Painting from life is wonderful, but it does have me casting about for subjects sometimes.
In my studio, I have a huge bucket of fake flowers that look incredibly realistic. There are also a few vases and some fabrics from the curtain section of Value Village - a second hand shop. But I'm not a knickknack person, so I don't have many props to go with these still life objects. As well, I find myself casting about for pleasing arrangements.

Sometimes I find inspiration in set ups that others have already done. You can't go wrong with Cezanne's still lifes, for example.
The painting above was inspired by the one below it. I saw this gorgeous, simple still life by William Nicholson at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY last year and loved it. The lighting, muted palette and intimacy of a garden table all created a magnetic atmosphere around this piece. Strangely, I also felt the presence of the painter very strongly in the painting; as if he were still lingering in the lovely moment that he created. That sounds weird, but how else do you describe the intense feeling that only a few paintings give you? I walked right past a lot of spectacular work that day with barely a glance, so it's odd that a few primulas and a pair of scissors should make me stop and gaze with pleasure.

It was this atmosphere and colour harmony that I tried to capture in "Daisies and Brushes". How wonderful would it be if someone, someday, felt the need to stop and gaze at it a generation from now.


Dean H. said…
Well, someone felt the need to stop and gaze at it ...even though it's today and even though it's me...Lol.
Love the thicker brush work on the petals.
You're a peach, Dean. Thanks!
Anonymous said…
I particularly love your comment about feeling the presence of Nicholson in his painting- there is something truly remarkable in his ability to cut through to the experience of looking- Technique, skill and talent are all there but seem irrelevant in the face of his straight-forward honesty
Thanks for your comment and for EvolveRevolve; it's been a thought-provoking read.
Your insight about Nicholson's honesty of vision and purpose is something that I'll take to the studio today.
It's easy to get caught up in using the same bag of tricks from one painting to the next, forgetting that each painting or drawing can be so much richer and deeper than that: an exploration of your own experience rendered honestly and without glibness.

You've given me a lot to ponder today, David. Thank you.