Still Life Paintings

Rated 4.17/5 based on 7 reviews
Still Life Paintings is a collection of three short stories, thematically linked by painting. This collection is 10,000 words in length and contains bonus material in the form of an an essay excerpt from the book Reflections on Motherhood as well. More

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Review by: Aparna Sethuraman on Dec. 09, 2011 :
This is a very interesting set of short stories. Three varied stories .. each one depicts various facets of art in our lives..It shows how humans use art/painting to express their feelings of pain/joy/frustration/love. The first story is a tragedy where a woman paint the same picture over and over again without ever realizing that she is attempting to portray the tragedy that ended her life as she knew it.. In the second story painting helps a mother understand her kids..In the third story an artist uses his painting to let the woman he loves know of his feelings..

On the whole an excellent read..
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: mrsepeel on Nov. 02, 2011 :
This is a very promising book of three short stories, that are linked by art and painting. The first story was very emotional - a woman paints obsessively, producing the same painting every time, but unable to recognise the subject of the paintings because of her grief and pain. It's quite a haunting story, and the only problem I had with it was the ending, which I felt was a little rushed. It perhaps needed a little more time spent on the ending to make the story and it's resolution complete.

The second story was very nicely told, with a mother using art and painting as a way to occupy her children; the details were good and the idea was very good - I just felt that there was something not quite satisfying about the way the story ended. Having said that, I enjoyed reading it.

The third was very short, and probably the one that I liked the least - this is more to do with my preferred taste in reading than with the story. Romance is not a genre that I would choose and the final story undoubtedly falls into this category. It was also a little too sentimental for my taste, but it's likely that there are many others who would have enjoyed this very much.

Overall it was a quirky and interesting trio of stories, very different in subject matter but all using painting to illuminate the themes in the stories. I feel that the book would definitely benefit from rigorous proof reading and editing; the stories have the feel of works in progress. There is a lot of potential shown in the ideas central to the stories, in the way that painting and art is used to illuminate ideas and express emotion, as well as in the writing. Writing style can always be improved and if the author maintains the creativity shown in these stories, I think that any future work will be very interesting. I'll certainly be looking out for it.

I received a copy of this book as a LibraryThing Giveaway in October 2011.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: L G on Aug. 23, 2011 : (no rating)
The story about the child (Abstract Remembrances) was heart rending. (spoiler alert) I liked the way she did not recognize what she was painting, and the ending, with the guilt being contagious, was a very interesting twist, one I had not seen before.

Different Strokes- Wow- what every parent wishes they were!

Still Life—enjoyed it—neat way to tell a story.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Abby Bookshelf Confessions on Aug. 14, 2011 :
it's really a touching book-touching in a way that it could shake your soul down to the core...
the stories are really fascinating and would make you appreciate life even more.. and make you see art as it should be..-or beyond your eyes..
the stories which are associated with arts are really wonderful..some of it made me cry! remarkable and unforgettable..Good job Karen

Still Life Paintings is a collection of three short stories, thematically linked by painting. This collection is 10,000 words in length and contains bonus material in the form of an an essay excerpt from the book Reflections on Motherhood as well.

In the first story, Abstract Remembrances, a young mother has a mental breakdown after a tragic event. She paints the same image day after day only she can't actually "see" the image she repeatedly paints. Will art therapy be her salvation, or her final undoing?

In the second story, Different Strokes, a harried mother tries to teach her children a lesson in individuality and tolerance by introducing them to Art History Masters and the different methods of painter each used. In the end, she teaches her self an important lesson as well.

In the third story, Still Life Paintings, a woman is forced to attend a gallery premiere spotlighting her ex-boyfriend. The painful business event takes an abrupt turn, as she sees that each canvas holds a message just for her. In the end, she must read the paintings as a whole and decide what the message means for her future.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Cathy T. on Aug. 13, 2011 :
I would’ve given it five stars if not for the errors I spotted. But I’ll get to that later.

This book contains three short stories ranging from romance to tragedy. Except for the first one, this has a very “feel good” tone to it. Abstract Remembrances is about a mother confined in a mental institution. Everyday, she paints a portrait of her young son. Something tragic happened in her life and could art therapy help her recover? This story was heavy. It was just so sad. It had quite a few typos and grammar errors but those aside, it’s a very good piece.

Different Strokes is a cute one. A mother introduces Art History to her two young children to calm them down and teach them lessons in life. I am pretty familiar with the different schools and movements in art so I really got into this. And the image of the kids working on their projects… so cute!

The third story shares the name of this whole collection. Still-Life Paintings is about a scorned woman forced to attend her ex-boyfriend’s gallery show. And in his paintings, she realizes that there was more that meets the eye. It has all the makings of a romantic comedy, methinks. The ending literally made me go “awww….”

Okay, before I wrap this up, I just have to address the errors. They can be easily corrected with another read-through by the author/editor so it wouldn’t be so hard. I find it ironic that this is an art-centric collection and the author gets Salvador Dali’s name wrong. Dali, not Dahli. Also, loose/lose and everybody’s favorite your/you’re. Again, no biggie so I hope this can be cleaned up.

Rating: 4/5.

Recommendation: It’s 27 pages on the nook so it won’t take too much of your time. These are really good short stories. You’ll enjoy them more if you like art.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jill Bemis on Aug. 07, 2011 :
Three very short stories invoke a powerful reaction to tales of love.


The extreme pain and psychological affect on Kady when her child is killed in an accident is expressed through painting in “Abstract Remembrances” The graphic ending to this very short story may upset some readers.

Painting the same scene together in the short story “Different Strokes” opens up communications and teaches a mother an importance lesson as they celebrate similarities and differences of artists and paintings.

In “Still Life Paintings,” a series of paintings about an extremely volatile split and emotional rollercoaster is completed by Jared and displayed in the gallery where his ex-finance must attend the opening and face the truth about their relationship.

Author Karen Fowler uses words to invoke an emotional response as she verbally paints the joys and anguish that love brings. Each story is well organized and action flows quickly to the climax. The short stories are only a few pages in length. Adding a blank line between paragraphs would visually enhance the appearance and encourage the reader to slow down and assimilate what they are reading, rather than race to the end.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: rhonda laney on July 18, 2011 :
Its a good collection of really short stories on art. Three of st
ories touched me deeply. The Mother who son dies and she paints the same picture every day but doesn't know what the picture is about. Mother who is tired of dealing with her kids fighting takes the time to teach her kids a lesson about art and paints with them and learning a lesson at same time. The painter that shows how he has grown and realizes how much he loves his old girl friend.
She told different stories dealing with art and made me look at art a little different. The stories got thier message across to me. I was given the ebook in exchange for honest review.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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