Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Still Life

“Petal Pushers II”
6" X 6" Oil on Raymar Panel

In case you’re not familiar with the term “still life," it is an art form in which the subject matter is most often an inanimate object, such as fruit, pottery, a vase of flowers, etc.   The artist has significant control over his/her composition and arranges it in a “fixed” manner, even choosing the type and position of the light source, creating dramatic shadows and beautiful highlights.

Still lifes, while very popular, have never been at the top of my list to paint – with the exception of flower close-ups.   I’m not sure exactly why, but I think it might be because they’re usually just so ………........ STILL…….and still is really hard for me to do!!  

Or maybe it’s the same reason why I’m not especially fond of social events where the primary activity is the proverbial “small talk."  You know – the kind of contrived conversation that starts with the typical  “How do you like this weather we’ve been having?"  Or, “Love your dress!  Where’d you get it?”, and continues to proceed, and end, superficially with both participants carefully controlling their exposure – if any at all.   (You know what I’m talkin’ about!)

Now I am NOT saying there isn’t VALUE in properly placed shadows and highlights. For instance, I think you will agree that not everyone needs to see and know EVERY thing.   To quote a dear friend, “You don’t have to tell everything you know!”  And another, “You don’t have to show your hand!”  True - some things are just meant to be shadowed.  (Remember when I used to do makeovers?)   ‘Nuff said.  (Hey - I'm not talkin' about you!)

I guess when it comes to the art of painting, I prefer things in their natural setting – like fruit on the vine/tree, flowers in the garden, and horses in the paddock.   Or maybe a better term is “life," because life is not still.  Not when you’re bored.  Not when you’re sleeping.  Not even after it stops.  

But aren’t we all still life artists in a way?  In social situations, don’t we position ourselves, and our families, in the “light” that we want others to see us in?  Don’t we keep things in the shadows – even from ourselves (and God)?  And when things aren’t going the way we think they should, don’t we try to control, manipulate, contrive, arrange, position –  FIX?  Uh-huh.

Yep - you’re probably an artist – even if you don’t call yourself one.  And the more you try to control, the tighter you are wound, the greater the potential loss.  Been there.  Am there.  Trying to learn …...... to let go ……… and let God.  It’s a process.  Join me?

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the author and perfecter of our faith.” 
Hebrews 12:2

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