"Quiet Life"

Still Life genre goes very far back in time, but it was not until the early Renaissance, the genre emerged as an independent style, the artists did a lot of set-up, design and the right lighting. The main subject has often been great expressive flower bouquets, fine china and cutlery, wine glasses, bottles and dishes filled with fruits both fresh and old. It was not unusual to find dead deer in the still life paintings. All recognizable objects whose symbolic meaning referring to human vanity and the transience of life and the contrasts between the living and the dead - illusion and reality.

The Estonian artist Silja Salmistu have taken the simple composition and illustrates the still life genre as a living tradition, which also can accommodate changing opportunities. She uses the traditional composition at least there is both an awareness of tradition and renewal to trace her pictures. Silja creates a visual and spatial expression, where she provides space for various familiar elements, such as flowers, vases, fruits, tables, chairs, books, pictures and other little things – things which make a kind of mime game to real life.

Silja has a great compositional ability, where she with a relatively simple and efficient installation creates dialogue between the different things and let them get as much space and value as possible. She lets different contrasting objects play against each other's shape, color, texture and size. The light which is an important factor in Siljas images, capturing her in a very special way, so you get the feeling of light wrapping around the objects and give them life in a wonderful play of colors.

Silja Salmistu land safely and fine between the tradition-bound painting and the idea-based art and grasp the actual elements in a breathtaking and refined way. Everyday small things becomes visible and present and gets noticed in a completely different way.

© By Kirsten-Marie Hedeland , Art Critic and writer at the Danish Art Magazine “Kunstavisen” and host on the TV program “Kunst for Tiden” www.facebook.com/kirstenmarie.hedeland ¤ km.hedeland@ofir.dk


While the world is speeding up and making ever more noise, one may need to find a foothold to keep a balance, to retreat, to take a break.

This is what my art is about. Painting still life, a silent existence of ordinary things, fruits and flowers, is a meditative process.
I observe light in a room bouncing around the objects, causing colours to appear and interact. It takes and gives a peace of mind.

I work from life, in silence.
I want to have immediate contact with the objects in front of me, to share the room with them, hence I prefer to use my own two eyes instead of a camera`s single one.
I aim to achieve a subtle sensation of movement in the picture space, to give the viewers a feeling of being present and breathe in it.
If I succeed, the still life is no longer nature morte, it turns to nature vivante.



I am Estonian living in Denmark. I was graduated from Tartu Art School (Est) in 1986 as a designer-decorator, and from Tartu University in 1994 as a painter. I have participated in exhibitions since 1987, mostly in Estonia, but also in England, Finland and Denmark. I moved to Denmark in 2002.

Becoming a mom put my artistic activity on standby for a while, until I picked it up again a couple of years ago.

 My main art medium has always been oil painting, but I also use less time-consuming media such as watercolours and soft pastels.