Aaron Stills is an award-winning American artist whose meticulous paintings of humble, household items are inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch masters. Crafted over many months, his works are meditative, inducing a sense of calm and contemplation. Each painting is deceivingly well composed, balancing light with dark, color, shape and texture.
Stills' initial training took place at the University of Utah, where he studied with Alvin Gittins (American, 1922-1981). Gittins was a nationally-renowned portraitist, a staunch proponent of academic practice. From Gittins, Stills learned the important of composition, perspective, and tone. He developed a basic arsenal that would dramatically expand.
Unlike figurative paintings, where artists are judged on the ability to capture a likeness or communicate narratives, still life artists are concerned with formal challenges: capturing perspective, drawing viewers’ eyes around a composition through shape and color, and the conveying of ideas through symbolism.
Stills' paintings almost always have a large variety of items that are technically difficult to capture in oil painting: the glassy glaze of porcelain, the opaque blue-and-white veining of Stilton cheese, and the opacity of onion skin. Stills' ability to mimic these often takes multiple layers of oil paint that each dry over months. Among oil painters, Stills is considered a modern master.