Still life

I have just been to the dentist and whilst the treatment wasn’t my worst nightmare – like last time – I am a bit sore and the anesthetic is starting to wear off. So I have moved over to self medication; a couple of paracetamols and – more importantly – a couple of glasses of Chardonnay – how can I go wrong? I realize I shouldn’t be writing right now but I am not going to ” publish” anything and in the morning I will review. If it is too embarrassing, riddled with mistakes or plain awful, I will delete it. If not I will probably move on with it. It’s interesting to see how my brain works after a couple of painkillers and some alcoholic beverages. I think I am doing fine…. but maybe I should ask a second opinion? My seven year old is on the I-pad, my girls are tucked up in bed and my husband is in Ireland. I think I am OK to give it a go.

I want to talk about creating beautiful still lifes. Every home can have the most fabulous furniture, rugs, colours on walls, but it will never truly come together as an intriguing, sexy and exciting home, without the creation of some perfectly styled still lifes.

Here is a traditional still life – a still life painting – one of my favourite artworks at home…which is part of the overall still life – do you get it?


I want to talk about those little still lifes in an interior, made from objects in your interior, that make you do a double take; those that make you feel intrigued by some of the objects, the colours, the way they are placed together and overall by what that display of objects is doing for you when you look at it.

The Definition of a still life is:

1. representation chiefly of inanimate objects, as a painting of a bowl of fruit.
2. the category of subject matter in which inanimate objects are represented, as in painting or photography.
OK so that’s the formal definition – I loosely translate this into: The need for a couple of ingredients:
  1. A table, console, desk, little shelf etc – basically a hard surface you can dress.
  2. Some vases or jugs with or without flowers, bottles, candlesticks etc you really like
  3. Books
  4. An interesting vintage lamp
  5. A couple of unusual trinkets /accessories – something unexpected, with a bit of humour and extravagance

Number 1 is essential, and then any combination of at least 2 items of the remaining 4. Furthermore the composition of the objects is also key to the success. Grouping things together, using books as a little table to prop other things up on. Don’t have everything the same height and don’t place things in a row. Break things up a bit….

Here are some great still lifes:

Photo number one, has it all the lamp, the flowers, the books, some art and that great wallpaper. I think that that’s why I chose this one – the wallpaper is just amazing.

Photo number two – is fun and quirky – the baby’s head combined with the letters are just fun and perhaps a bit creepy and trigger a reaction – with me anyway!


The next 4 photographs are by photographer Simon Bevan, I love his work.

Photo number one – I think the colour and texture of the wall covering combined with the plates make this a great still life
Photo number two – again the colour is key here. But for a different reason. All is white – a bit too white – white walls white mantelpiece, white accessories. The way the photograph is taken is just spectacular with the shadows on the wall and then to emphasize the white even more that one single orange rose…


Photo number 3 is lovely and colourful with different vases displayed casually (or so it seems!) and comes very close to the classic ‘old world’ painting still lifes but this is so vibrant and really pretty….

Photo number 4 – a very good example of a still life with the lamp, the trinkets in the same gold colour, the painting, the chair. A little bit too conservative for me perhaps but I absolutely love, love, love the lamp.


A few of my still lifes..

Photo number 1 is actually how my coffee table looks – it isn’t perfect and I wanted to re-style it but thought it was more ‘authentic’ if I left it for now….books, magazines, a crocodile’s head, vases, candles, a brass skull, a bronze deer statue and a starfish ….all plonked together…

Photo number 2 is a little still life with old pharmacy bottles, some art deco brass herons and some books

IMG_0063  IMG_0059       

 Below a still life with vintage lamp, gold and glam birdcage with palm trees, flowers, books, a mirror and a pink Juju hat.

Photo number 4 is a very traditional still life, with lemons and flowers, as styled for another post – A bit of summer.

IMG_0053     WP_20150521_002

So, whilst I am not going to repeat the ‘ self medication method’ too quickly – I didn’t have to delete that much…just goes to show….


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