Someone recently said in my hearing that still lifes were boring.
I asked him why he thought so and he replied that they always look staged, fake. Well, as a genre I suppose still lifes are long on still, short on life, but one of the fabulous things about still life painting is: YOU CAN CHANGE THAT. You are the master of everything when you paint still lifes: the subject, the lighting, your perspective, everything. That is not true for the landscape painter and it has only limited application for the portrait painter. (I might also add, when comparing still lifes as a subject to a model as a subject, that still lifes are free, you don't have to give them breaks every 20 minutes, and they stay up all night if you need them to. But I digress...)
I was thinking about this, and about how I feel inspired to paint landscapes, but I do stage still lifes, that is true. Maybe what I should do, I thought to myself, is paint the still life as a landscape: just there, as it lay! So natural and unplanned, just waiting to be discovered and captured for posterity. Boring still lifes are just overly-orchestrated. Rather, catch something from REAL LIFE and make a work of art out of it.
Then BAM! I had the opportunity to practice what my mind was beginning to preach. My husband and I came home the other evening and when we turned on the kitchen light, he said, "Wow, that's a painting!" Looking at the produce on the counter I said, "Yeah, that would be a good painting!" Then he said, "Paint it! Now! I'll help you set up your gear."
Ha! Bluff called! My mind was saying, "But I'm tired...it's late... it needs to be orchestrated and also better lighting than the stove hood light anyway..." Immediately I was thwarting myself, but before anyone knew what was going on in my head, I said, "Okay, I will!"
So here you have it: Under the Stove Light, the impromptu interior landscape painting of produce, just as it lay.