Willem Claeszoon Heda, 1631
Breakfast Table with Blackberry Pie
Rachel Ruysch, 1716 Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase
Jan Weenix Dead Birds and Hunting Equipment in a Landscape
Finally the quiet intimacy of certain Dutch genre paintings feels very tender to me. The stillness - like a drop of water on the brink of falling - you know it’s going to fall in the very next second because everything does - it all falls, it all goes, it's all going, but sometimes in a painting a moment is captured - so you can have its depth, its fragility, its complexity and take your time with all that it holds, revel in its significance.
Vermeer 1657 Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window
Spending the bulk of my days at home with just me and these two little boys was many things, but one that surprised, confused and sometimes pained me was the loneliness of it. Some of these Dutch genre paintings made me feel that in my loneliness, I was not alone, but connected to the humanity of feeling lonely.
I wondered at how something as mundane as being at home with my children could feel at times so overwhelming in every way. It was so full. Like these ostentatious still life paintings, every part of my life felt in danger of toppling, spilling, too full to take in: full of joy and anger and sadness and wonder and beauty and fear of loss, fear of making mistakes, fear of missing out on the very thing itself because it was all just too big, too much. Full of screaming, crying, laughing, singing, feeding, mess, cleaning, cooking, buying, fixing, finding, trying, failing, dressing, bathing, playing, cuddling, learning, and wondering. And I wanted to catch it because every day there was something that showed me how fast it all goes by, some evidence of life tumbling on always towards its end.
I wanted to freeze the moments to be able to really see them, to feel all their textures.
I realized I wanted to paint scenes from my home life as if they were Dutch masterworks. I decided to use things from our daily lives, leaving out any obviously very modern things, for fear that too many contemporary items would push the image towards reading as a critique of consumerism or a comment on the banality of domesticity (the opposite of what I wanted to express). And so It began...