Bringing everyday, seemingly ordinary, objects to life is one of the most challenging and rewarding tasks for an artist. Yet, by masterfully organizing these inanimate objects in just the right way, they find a way to captivate viewers and evoke emotional responses. 

In this Art Discovery, four talented still life artists share how they approach still lifes and turn these everyday objects –– like flowers, fruit and even a bowl of Wrigley’s gum –– into captivating, stunning works of art. 

The most tenured artist on the panel, Graydon Foulger has been creating art for more than 50 years, and has been part of Celebration of Fine Art for 30 years. One thing Graydon focuses on his still lifes is finding a unique point of view. It’s through that view that he believes seemingly simple objects transform into art that elicits some emotion. 

“The primary purpose of an artist is to create a piece of art, not to copy a photograph,” Graydon said. 

Barbara Rudolph, on the other hand, takes a different approach to her still lifes –– often incorporating humor into her work. One example is her “Tequila Mockingbird” which as the name implies is a painting of a mockingbird surrounded by bottles of tequila. 

“I had a lot of fun developing this series,” Barbara said. “I like to have fun when I’m painting.”

A self-described minimalist, Leslie Duke believes the use of space is as important as the object itself. She also loves using color in her work to evoke strong emotions.

“I’ve always been really drawn to color,” Leslie said. “Color psychology and how color influences our subconscious and our moods is really important to me.”

For Erin Berrett, she loves the challenge of taking objects that most of us might overlook –– a stack of newspapers, bubble gum dispenser, even a box of plastic wrap (a commissioned piece) –– and creating symbolic pieces that often elicit a sense of nostalgia in viewers. 

“It’s special to take a regular object and put it on canvas and it’s suddenly wonderful,” she said. 

Each of the four artists brings their own unique styles to still life work. And that’s part of the beauty of art and still life –– each will bring their own view and interpretation to an object and create completely different experiences for the viewer.

Watch the full Art Discovery below to hear how they approach still lifes, why they are drawn to this style of painting, and even some funny commission stories. For more on each of the featured artists, check out:

Graydon Foulger

Barbara Rudolph:

Leslie Duke:

Erin Berrett: