Nature Morte

Between painting people and landscape, I have have often brought natural elements into the studio to confront self and nature through painting. In the past I often used the process to rework abandoned portraits. It allows me a quieter, reflective experience as there is something more formally internal about this solitary meeting, without people or active landscape. I have always preferred the french term "Nature Morte”.  It brings to mind the reality of the cycle of life, and the choice to hold in paint some arrangement of objects that resonate.   However, In 2011 I returned to painting flowers simply because I had begun working on an ongoing collaborative arts project in
North West Hospice. I set my studio up on the ward one afternoon each week week (along with other artists an musicians in eight week cycles), to see how creativity impacts in that environment, and visa versa. As is traditional in visiting, I bring flowers each week and begin my sessions painting them in watercolour, and engaging if appropriate with patients on the ward. This sometimes leads to a portrait, sometimes just to flowers, but always to a meaningful encounter of some description. The work is the offshoot of the engagement. To my surprise, in 2013, the hospice work generated a new liberated series of flower paintings in my own studio that really came alive for me.  They became remote visits with my own mother who was terminally ill over a long period, and were a way of attending her, even if not physically all the time. In these paintings, although titled by what is in them, the vessels are of equal relevance, as they were vases, jars and pots she collected. I enjoy my difficulty at finding ways to render both natural and inanimate elements through paint. The backgrounds may appear abstract,  but are more literally referential of material and paintings placed behind what I am looking at in the studio,  and to sections of paint spattered wood of the second easel on which the vases sit as I paint. They owe some odd tangential debt to memories of Georges Braque’s monumental studio interiors, which moved me deeply when I first saw them many years ago.

Nick Miller

Nature Morte- Related links and Projects

Selected Images ( 2013-14)
If I Show you the Roses Rubicon Projects(2014)
Still Life (ongoing)

Click to view