Artist Craig Shillam creates oil paintings that express an interest in nostalgia and realism. Enjoy this collection and view more on his website.
Like so many others, I have been drawing and painting as long as I can remember. I also feel that life is just not as full unless I am creating something with my own hands, using my own ability, whether it turns out in tune with my vision or not. The work, the trial and error, the failures, the constant striving and learning, the successes—they all are part of the pathway.
I live and work in the Pacific Inland Northwest, Spokane, Washington, to be exact. With a wealth of beautiful landscapes, four distinct seasons, mountains, lakes and rivers all around me, one would think I would be a landscape painter. Inspiration here is bountiful.
Through the years there have been a number of different mediums and subjects that have held my attention for periods of time. For instance, for many years I worked with colored pencils.
Currently, I am focusing on still life oil paintings featuring fruit and vegetables along with other interesting, nostalgic objects that interest me. I do not, however, rule any subject matter out.
Finding the objects for a still life painting, setting it up, trying to get the light just right and rearranging everything is just the beginning of the process. What color of red is watermelon, really? Never in a thousand years would I have thought I would enjoy still life painting as much as I have. It’s challenging, and it’s fun! We’re allowed to have fun, right?
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I choose to paint in a traditional manner in a realistic style because I like it. I do pay attention to abstract design, but I prefer a more traditional approach. This does not stop me from experimenting and trying new things, however.
I’ve been influenced by several artists and art styles, as well as art collectors and art lovers. I listen, consider and think, either keeping or dismissing what I’ve learned. I then paint what interests me.
Most of the time, if the subject interests me, it will interest many others. While what others think about my paintings is not paramount, I do like it when people stop and look at my work when it is on display much more than having them walk right by without a mere glance.
As time rolls on, I plan on painting more still life paintings, as well as dipping my toe in the landscape painting pool. The landscape of the American West is too magnificent not to take a crack at. I always work on my craft, trying to improve with each work. There is so much to learn!
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