As I venture back in to still life painting during the winter I’m having fun continuing to explore pattern, shape and color. The painting featured here came about unexpectedly.
This winter I decided to explore “Vanitas” still life paintings and use them as inspiration for some contemporary still life work of my own. Vanitas paintings emerged in the Netherlands during the 15th and 16th centuries. They are very symbolic works that focus on the ideas of our inevitable mortality as well as the futility of materialism. One will often see skulls, clocks, candles, jewels, musical instruments and more brought together in a random display with each element containing a specific reference within the theme.
In working with this idea I began collecting pieces to build a vanitas inspired arrangement. The objects here were part of what I had come up with. While observing the entirety of what I had pulled together this small grouping stood out and I thought it might be a painting worth exploring on it’s own.
In creating this piece, the idea of objects in relationship to their background re-surfaced. It’s something that I was contemplating last year in my still life paintings. The backgrounds tend to become equal or more dominate within the composition, creating a new sense of space for the viewer to consider and engage with.