"This Still Life Is Dead"...

...That's what one of my students said this morning about the big eclectic still life set up in the middle of the studio that they're all working from.

I could not help myself and had to share my favourite still-lifers with the group:
Chardin and Morandi.

As I have a workshop coming up in February at:
I thought I'd indulge in a few beautiful images of still life:

I adore how Chardin's rich dark tones invite us into dimly-lit corners, creating a secretive indulgence in the ordinariness of eighteenth century domestic things. 

The succulence of fresh food compliments the sheer joy in the application of paint; to render glass, pewter, copper and ceramic surfaces was apparently as sweet a pleasure.

For me, Chardin's work places emphasis on the 'life' in still life.
Conversely, I find the gentle quiet paintings of Morandi are more about the 'still':

Yet, there's an intimate tension in the way his items keep recurring painting after painting.

Their placement is often central to the canvas and generally items sit huddled together, like a close-nit family.

I especially love how the edge of the table or a shadow becomes as prominent as the items themselves.

Where Morandi embraces the pleasure of the picture plane, the simplicity of one beautifully observed colour, tone or shape next to another, is where the work meets abstraction in a masterly manner.