'Still life with lilies' is an example of the dedication to careful tonal observation required to achieve an image that is honest and visually pleasing. The sudden opening of the lilies demanded a fast-paced approach in loose, broad brushstrokes, giving a painterly, fluid effect. 'A painting should look like it just rolled off the brush without you even looking.' A favourite saying by my current mentor Fiona Bilbrough. I believe this painting comes close to the kind of languid effortlessness we associate with John Singer Sargent. The subject matter of the ornate vases and embroidered drapery also reflects Sargent's fascination with opulence and grandeur. However, the overarching theme is conveyed through the lilies, symbols of honesty and purity. To paint what one sees is to be true to the thing itself.