Still life paintings in 2021?!?

So why would one, or more precisely I, want to make still life paintings in 2021? I have asked myself this question quite often lately but have yet to find a good answer. Not only do still life painting seem a bit … old fashioned?! The still life has in fact always been regarded as minor art, a form of decoration, women’s art…! And so why would someone well educated, and supposedly in their right mind, turn to this genre today?

Work in progress

The only viable answer I have come up with this far, is that this turn, for me, is not a request from my rational mind, but an invitation from my soul. Painting is a calling, not a job to be done like any other task. A way to understand a bit more about this dilemma (sense versus sensibility) can be found in the writings of Jungian analyst James Hollis:

Many decades ago, Jung differentiated the two major stages of life, with many sub-passages within each. The first is about ego building. What do I need to learn, do, risk to step into the world—the world of relationship, the world of work, the world of adult responsibilities? But somewhere else we have another appointment with ourselves, in which we ask other questions: What is my life about, really? What do I need to do to live in good faith with my own soul? In the first half of life, we are ego-bound to ask, What does the world want of me, and how do I meet that demand? In the second half of life, we have a different question: What does the soul ask of me. (“Soul” is, of course, a metaphor for what is most truly us, as opposed to those thousand, thousand adaptations the world asks of us).

I still don’t know why my soul wants me to go in this direction, but at least I’m listening …

Work in progress

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Rio says:

    There is something dishonest about not pursuing a form of expression for no other reason than it being considered “women’s art”. I look with suspicion at the history of western art, the path is so smooth for some, never questioning the skin or sex of any one except *everyone* who wasn’t sanctioned in some way by the powers that existed, granted sometimes posthumously. It leaves everyone else with the arduous task of peeling layers off their eyes over and over again to see the value in their own work. This is a fav. bugaboo of mine because one of my earliest memories is of my father saying, “Oh well, women can’t paint, but they can only paint like women.”

    1. Sigrun says:

      Agree, but I think what Hollis tell us is that what is considered right and wrong has deep roots in our self-understanding and in our way of seeing the world.

  2. Rio says:

    Oh, and incase you value an opinion that is unsanctified, I love your work.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Honestly – is anyone ever sanctified … thank you so much for taking time to read and comment ❤️ much appreciated!

  3. Kristin Mjeldheim says:

    Så fint du skriv om dette❤️

    Sendt fra min iPhone

    > 15. aug. 2021 kl. 11:40 skrev sub rosa : > >  >

    1. Sigrun says:

      Takk for det virtuelle besøket ❤️ Det er fint å forsøke å skrive litt når man ikke helt vet hva man tenker om en sak …

  4. I love still life paintings. I think it is wonderful that you are being led by your soul to do them. I once went to a still life painting show, perhaps it was at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It was almost deserted. It comprised a few centuries of still life paintings, through to the then present-day. For me, it was a happy place to be. There is something very, very human about still life paintings, to me. Also, there can be a quiet profoundness about them.

    1. Sigrun says:

      Thank you, Stephen – I love what you say about the human quality of still life. Even if only picturing inanimate objects, a still life always also alludes to lived life. When well executed it can, I think, be almost poetic; it can carry a very condensed form of insight about what it is to be human.

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