“I decided to paint a series of still lifes showcasing some carefully chosen items from my late mum’s old wooden sewing box as a way of helping with the grieving process; but more importantly, I felt it would be an appropriate way of keeping her memory alive,” says Michele Ashby.
“My dear mum loved to sew and knit and was always making things for my sister and I to wear. The Singer sewing machine was almost always out on the dining table ready to use at a moment’s notice.
“It didn’t occur to me at the time that my little paintings (either 6×6″ or 10×10″) would conjure up such strong emotional responses and such feelings of nostalgia from friends, family, and followers online.
“I have used photo references for all of these paintings, making sure the objects are beautifully lit with a low positioned light casting a strong directional shadow, allowing for the treasured items to be the ‘stars of the show’.
“As an ex-graphic designer, I believe that composition is key and a fundamental element to making for a great painting – I take time to get just the look I’m after when working out the size, scale, and cropping of my chosen imagery.
“The use of a neutral background tone (either a very light grey or mid grey) allows any areas of colour within the paintings to really pop.
“I called my series Little Moments Big Memories, and so far I’ve painted over a dozen. I certainly have more I’d like to explore.
“Still life hasn’t been a subject area that I’ve been excited to explore until I started with this series, but I have tried to stay true to my mantra of ‘telling my own truth’ to depict imagery that has triggered in me similar emotional responses that my portrait paintings have.”