Painted during the Covid lockdown of 2020. The period gave me the chance to devote my attention to things for which I would ordinarily not have the time nor energy. I set myself a challenge: To paint a still life in the Dutch Realist style that I’ve long admired. I set up a scene on my mantelpiece and worked from life and reference images.
I spent at least an hour a day, every single day for around 6 weeks focusing my attention and training my eye on this still life. I learnt new, advanced oil painting techniques along the way and developed my eye and ability to mix more accurate colour values. I’m not sure I’ve ever spent this long on a single piece but it’s was rewarding and meditative.
Dutch Breakfast Still Life (Ontbijtjes) are a type of still life painting developed in the 17th century. While the word “ontbijtjes” is Dutch for breakfast, it was more thought of as “a light meal taken at any time of day”. The Breakfast Still Life is characterized by the display of everything from common everyday foods and items to rare delicacies and luxury goods such as roemers (wine glasses), silver/gold goblets, and chinese porcelain bowls. Still life paintings in this genre ranged from small and simple to large and complex with a variety of meanings, both literal and symbolic.
©2023 joshua leigh