Bella Wattles is an oil painter based in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Her still life paintings are a contemporary take on classical subjects, such as fruit, flowers, and fabric.
We chat with the artist about her recent work included in the Chroma exhibition through PxP Contemporary.
What inspired you to create the work you showcased in the 'Chroma' exhibition?
My painting, Magic Hour Still Life, was inspired by my dream table spread at, what would be, an epic summer party. It could be in a backyard, with crickets chirping and the heavy summer heat just starting to break into a cool, evening breeze. With friends laughing and snacking, glasses clinking and these beautiful pink lilies catching everyone’s eye.
Can you share some insights into your creative process? Where do you draw inspiration from when it comes to your color choices?
My creative process is closely linked to storytelling. Each painting has some narrative behind it, an idea I turn over before even collecting objects to paint. My inspiration comes from everywhere, from color palettes I see on walks to Instagram posts to children’s books. Color plays such an integral role in expressing the mood of the scene. For this piece in particular, I wanted it to feel like summer. The bright greens, reds, oranges, and pinks are such an August palette, but also a happy one.
How did your medium of choice enhance your ability to convey the color in your artwork?
Oil paints allow me to bring rich and bright colors that work harmoniously together. I often do one or two passes, so not too many layers, and usually work almost wet on wet. This allows the colors to blend together and pick up on each other, to me making them work together even better.
What do you want viewers and collectors to know when interacting with your art?
I hope that viewers and collectors see their own narrative in my art. I don’t often fully explain my story behind each piece, because I somehow want each painting to stand for something different for everyone. It’s a personal connection that I draw on, and everyone has different backgrounds and might be able to create an entirely different story based on their own life. Above all, my art is a happy, alternate reality that we can dive into and get lost in thought.
What are you currently working on and looking forward to this season?
I am currently building my inventory for a busy fall/winter season of fairs and shows, as well as working through commissioned works. My commissions are currently open and as we head into the pre-holiday season, I love working with clients to create incredibly special pieces filled with meaningful objects. On the horizon is a project I’ve been dreaming about that is still very much in the works, of an entire odyssey told through paintings.