Capturing the Still Life

Capturing the Still Life

Gallery two at 222 will host an exhibit of still-life paintings by Dana Thompson. Exhibit dates are through March 29. Gallery two is co-located with Gallery 222 at 222 South King St., Leesburg. Visit or 703-777-5498.

Who are your major influences?

Both of my grandmothers were painters. One was formally trained at the Boston Conservatory of Art. The other was self-taught and very prolific. My grandmother who was formally trained did many beautiful portraits of people and animals in oil and pastel. My other grandmother painted fantastic landscapes.

Who are your major art influences?

Janet Fish, Chuck Close, Edward Hopper, Richard Estes, Ralph Goings, Robert Cottingham, Claudio Bravo, Jan Vermeer, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Kurt Schwarz, Danni Dawson. Realists and superrealists in general, but those with a modern or different twist.

When did you first get inspired to create art?

As early as I can remember I spent time in the studios of both my grandmothers, one in west Texas, one in Loudoun County, Virginia.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist?


What is the motif of the show?

Still lifes that include vintage items with vegetation. Many of the items are transparent, translucent or reflective in some way. This causes many fun challenges within each painting. What is special about it? The tightly cropped compositions and the effects one object (or light) plays with another. I also like how the objects in the compositions relate to one another. Every so often I throw in a play on words in the titles. A collection of different food scales and fish for example … the title …"Scales." Or a collection of seashells combined with collections of eggs … the title … "Egg Shells."

How did this motif come about?

Evolution, plunder and a warped sense of humor.

Where do you do most of your work?

In my Purcellville home studio or at King Street Studios in Leesburg.

Do you prefer a bedroom, studio, outside, lot of light, little light, etc.? Anywhere where I can control the light sources. Although I do like to paint the occasional landscape.

What do you listen to when you work?

Rock, jazz, blues and CNN.

Is it reflected in the work you create?

I hope not.

Favorite medium to use and why?

Oil paint. It moves. It's forgiving. It's versatile. It's traditional but at the same time can be modern.

What do you hope viewers get out of the art show?

I hope they see something they can relate to. I choose everyday items and combine them in such a way that they see relationships they hadn't thought of before. Still lifes by their very nature are contrived so I don't sweat that aspect, in fact I push it further. There's a graphic nature to the paintings both in color and composition that I view as much more modern than many typical still lifes. I suspect this comes from 30 years as a graphic artist. I don't belabor many of the classic artistic "rules." I may recognize them, but sometimes it's really fun to break them if necessary. Maybe to give something a fresher edge.

Art doesn't always have to be taken so seriously that it takes all the fun out of it. Basically, I get a lot of enjoyment out of painting and that's mostly what I want people to come away with when they see my work … a smile.

Any local community influences in your work?

Loudoun Academy of the Arts instructor Kurt Schwarz has been primarily influential in my painting development for the past six years.

Favorite art work, either own or someone else's:

Yellow Chair by Kurt Schwarz. It was the first local piece of his that I saw that completely spoke to how I wanted to paint … Everything was there … the subject matter, the color palette, the composition … everything.

If this is your first solo event, how do you feel hosting your first solo art exhibit?

Excited and very happy with the turnout for the event. Lot of new and familiar faces.

Where else can people see your art?

King Street Studios, 222 S. King St., Leesburg, VA 20175

Any future shows coming?

Millwood's Spring Show and Sale in April 26-May 11, "Get Real" Show at Gallery 222 in September.