What is a dynamic still life?

Tigress del Sur, 20" by 20", 2011

You have probably seen the phrase, “dynamic still life,” around my website a few times. Why do I call the butterfly paintings in Patterns in Flight and the bone joint paintings in Action, Unification dynamic still life?

A still life is typically a grouping of mostly inanimate objects.  A still life usually include objects such as fruit, flowers, books, candles, bread, glasses, musical instruments, dead animals, bones and other objects. They may even contain a skull such as in the Northern European vanitas (Latin for emptiness) paintings. The emphasis is on the static nature of the objects portrayed.  A still life is essential a collection of objects that are still.

In Patterns in Flight and Action, Unification, I painted objects that one usually connects with static images: butterflies pinned in a shadow box or a skeleton laid out on a table. However, I painted them as they are in life, dynamic and moving. Even in my depiction of bones–a subject many people associate with death–there is no death. They convey the complete opposite. They convey action and movement, so I didn’t think that still life on its own was an accurate term. Therefore, I put my paintings in the self-coined genre of  ”dynamic still life.”

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A note about the author

is a visual artist based in Indianapolis. She is drawn to natural, organic objects and portrays them with oil on textured surfaces. Often, she presents her subject in dynamic still life with a shift of time through movement or growth-decay.