Tantalizing still lifes
This story was featured in the November 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Jelaine Faunce offers a disclaimer to people who view her mouth- watering portraits of food: “Don’t send me your Jenny Craig bill if you happen to gain weight!” she likes to joke. Faunce’s “viewers beware” advice stems from the fact that her depictions of French fries, doughnuts, and Danishes can cause sudden cravings. By the way, the self-described contemporary realist points out that she doesn’t paint just any food—only the things she loves. “You will never see me painting a stalk of celery,” she says. “But bring on the sushi, pie, and hamburgers.”
Still lifes factor heavily in Faunce’s extensive portfolio of works, which also includes figurative paintings as well as fantasy works featuring flying pigs and fire-eating dragons. Her still lifes tend to be less about thought, she says, and more about emotion. “I’d have to say my attraction to still life is more about capturing a moment or seeing something that speaks to me on a visceral level,” the Nevada-based artist says. “A lot of my still-life work is either very color-focused or pattern- and shape-focused. The objects within the paintings are not the subject so much as what their gathering together inspires within me. I like to see repetition of lines, shapes, colors—to meditate on this and let it inspire me to create.”
Faunce holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where as a student she looked to Caravaggio and Vermeer as her “go-to influences.” But another significant and continuing influence today is Renaissance painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder. Faunce says Brueghel enjoyed a good visual story—particularly one with a biting wit—and so does she. For inspiration Faunce keeps an extensive collection of found and purchased objects in her studio (and some in her kitchen refrigerator) as well as hundreds of photographs of perishable items such as flowers. Her passion for photography helps keep her creativity fresh and alive, Faunce says. —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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