I recently began doing a series of still life studies to become more familiar with the Painter program and also practice my painting skills. These are all done from observation (not photos) with the oil brushes in Painter.
A still life is an excellent study because you get to truly observe simple objects and consider how light and shadows play in.
I recall from Art History lessons that for Masters the still life also served to show of their skill because there were so many different surface textures and light effects to portray. I’m still far away from being able to use my still life studies for bragging rights, but I still enjoy painting them and sometimes that is what is most important – that you have fun!