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Why Still Life Paintings?

Still Life with White Shell, Silver Cup and Turkey Feather,  Oil on 5"x7" Linen Panel
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While on my short vacation, I took a train trip for the very first time since I was a child. Aside from seeing beautiful landscapes of both Texas and Oklahoma, I was able to read. One of the books was a delightful gem of a book, titled Still Life with Oysters and Lemon by Mark Doty- part biographical, part historical, but mostly lots of references to still life paintings, primarily those created by Dutch masters.
It forced me to reflect on the act of painting with oils and why I enjoy painting still lifes so much. 

      The answer for me in one word is "connections." Several different types of connections. The genre allows me to feel somewhat connected to all those still life painters from the past. The objects themselves are simple, most of not much monetary value. Yet to me, my flower paintings, specially those of roses, correlate to the roses in my mother's garden or the painted china she so much loves to collect. 

      The fruits that I love to paint, are tangible links to my childhood in Honduras, like the figs my grandmother gathered from her garden or the mangoes that hung from trees in everyone's yard; others represent my desire to connect to my Italian ancestors; some are simply connections to the different seasons and to nature. The objects I choose to paint, whether shiny or with proof of wear and time, serve as bonds that connect me to people I've known, those I wish I had met, or to places I've called home and those I long to visit. 

       As far as the medium goes, oils have changed little in the hundreds of years that they've been used to create art. Although playing with different amount mixtures of linseed oil and paint thinners make me feel like I'm an alchemist creating my own formula, it's the feeling that hundreds of artists have done the same, smelled the same chemicals in their studios and felt the satisfaction of taking a brush to create those very first and last strokes on canvas, linen or board that keep me feeling connected.

     At times the fortune comes my way and it happens that the things that I feel a connection to, you do do also; in the end making me feel connected to you around the world, whether in Oklahoma, New York, California, or Canada, Russia, France, England or as far as Australia. 

This tiny book has inspired me to start a series called "Still Lifes with Oysters and Lemon." Not all will have oysters nor lemons, but all the paintings in the series will start with one of the Dutch paintings Mr. Doty has listed in his book, as inspiration. I am so thrilled and can't wait to get started.
                 Thank you for connecting with me. 
Hugs, 
Carolina
Still Life with Brass Vase, Saturn Peaches and Grapes,  Oil on 5"x7" Linen Panel
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  2. Hi Carolina, I always enjoy your paintings. I also have a particular love of still life paintings, whether they are fruit or found objects. For me they capture a time and a moment that is no longer and it is somehow very soothing to sit and look at such a painting and be transported somewhere else. I paint, but nothing like what you do, and it's exactly how I feel about oils, it takes you back to old masters and it hasn't really changed. Thank you for sharing your love and passion of painting! Sharon

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