Q&A with Susan Kraut

Italian Still Life 17
Italian Still Life 17. Oil on panel, 26″ x 30″. Courtesy of the artist.

ArtStyle: How would you describe your art?

Susan Kraut (SK): I don't really like calling myself a “still life” painter because it suggests pictures of apples and wine bottles. My paintings for many years have been representational descriptions of small organic objects, usually on a window sill, always in some sort of natural light, sometimes with elements of the particular landscape beyond the window.

ArtStyle: Why do you paint still lifes?

ArtStyle: How did you develop your style?

SK: I don't think we really ever choose a style — I would say it chooses us. As your vision for your paintings develops and grows, you have to shift the way you paint, often teaching yourself new techniques, in order to keep up with what the painting is asking from you.

Italian Still Life 18
Italian Still Life 18. Oil on panel, 22″ x 24″. Courtesy of the artist.

ArtStyle: What techniques do you use in your paintings?

SK: I take a long time to get to know a new subject: I have to spend a lot of time looking around, often collecting things from a particular place, taking photographs, doing many small drawings and painting studies, to try to discover what is most exciting about the subject, and how it might be formed into a painting. The paintings themselves are composed from the studies and photographs and are built up over many weeks or months of work, with many thin layers of oil paint.

ArtStyle: What are you trying to accomplish with your work?

SK: I think I am trying to record a particular moment, to recreate something beautiful and temporary that I have experienced, to capture in the stillness of a painting what is ephemeral and fleeting in real life.

Italian Still Life 21
Italian Still Life 21. Oil on panel, 16″ x 26″. Courtesy of the artist.

ArtStyle: Why do you think people relate to your art?

SK: We live in a Post-Modernist era, when art can be about anything and everything, and can appear in a surprising range of forms. But people still seem to enjoy looking at images of the world, at depictions of things they have seen and experienced in their lives, perhaps to see them in a different way.

Susan Kraut's exhibition new paintings is showing at Addington Gallery, 704 N Wells, Chicago, through January 31, 2008.

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