Inspiring Still Life
Daisies and Brushes
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.