Find Me Guilty

28 Oct 2012

Oftentimes we think that still life paintings tell quiet stories or personal, introspective narratives. I've certainly been guilty of it, but I'm not going to hide behind my pride. I've discovered that I couldn't have been more wrong! Still life artwork can tackle huge narratives, including cultural histories, traditions, religiosity, and even the symbolism of life and death.

Turid Pedersen's still life paintings take you to a whole other world.
Turid Pedersen's still life paintings take you
to a whole other world.

The work of Turid Pedersen serves as a reminder of this fact in a very real way. Living near the Mimbres Valley in New Mexico, the artist has spent her career creating still life art that reflects the ancient artistry of the Mimbres people. Pedersen works from original artifacts when creating her still life art, traveling to museums or private collections and establishing a close rapport with the objects she will eventually incorporate into her work.

With that up-close exploration of the objects she depicts, Pedersen is able to create still life works that evoke a mystical mood, reflecting the spirituality of the Mimbres people. "It is tremendously moving to touch and handle their objects," she says, "to feel the ancient surfaces of the pots, molded, incised, chipped and worn-to gaze in awe and wonder at the sophisticated designs created by fellow artists centuries ago."  

Plains Indian Strike-a-Light Purse by Turid Pedersen, oil on linen, 12 x 8.
Plains Indian Strike-a-Light Purse
by Turid Pedersen, oil on linen, 12 x 8.
Looking at the resulting still life artwork, I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, discovering a whole world that I wasn't aware even existed. Pedersen's subjects offer viewers ways to understand the culture of this ancient people, from the objects associated with their wedding ceremonies to those used in mourning. I feel a tinge of sadness when I look at the paintings, knowing that they are just remnants of this culture, but I also experience profound respect for it--and an equally strong respect for the artist who has dedicated herself to recording the existence of this people through their objects and her art. If that's not a "big" story, I don't know what is!

If you want to tell your own artistic narratives--big and small--with the kind of power Pedersen brings to her work, The Artist's Magazine may be the resource you've been looking for. It delivers quality art instruction that allows every artist who opens its pages to discover how to tell his or her own stories. It will open your eyes to the artwork and techniques you'll need to get where you want to go! Enjoy!


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E.D. wrote
on 11 Mar 2014 10:15 AM

This story and her paintings let us explore and view objects we wouldn't get to see and feel the soul of these people's past lives. Thank you.