Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Flowers White Peony Oil Painting

White Peony
Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas
12 x 12 x 1.5

Peonies are the sort of transition flower, between spring and summer.  In my part of the world they are often blooming on Memorial Day, and I remember my Mother arranging huge bouquets in Mason canning jars to take to the cemetery to decorate the graves.  I believe that hers were mostly red and pink, but I found this one in Minnesota several years ago while vacationing near Grand Marais.  I took a photograph mostly for the novelty of seeing a peony in bloom in July - their growing season is much different from ours.  I thought at the time it would make a nice painting, but it took me all these years to develop the skills and the patience to attempt such a feat.

This is another in my series of close up paintings of flowers. It may have been somewhat inspired by the work of Georgia O'Keefe, although my style is entirely different.  I wasn't consciously thinking of her when I began to realize that my point of view is somewhat different from that of many artists.  It happened on a painting trip with my husband to the North Shore of Lake Superior.  We had been painting at various spots along the shore for a few days when one morning I looked out over the water and saw a quiet lake,  much like the lake I had painted the day before, some rocks that resembled those I had already painted and some trees...well, you get the picture.  So did I, several times already.  Then I turned around and there it was!  A tiny blue flower on the end of a long delicate stem  - and it was growing out of the smallest of crevices between two rocks!  Such unexpected beauty, as well as some deep symbolism which I still haven't quite figured out, but it made a great painting.  Unfortunately, I did not take any photos of the painting and it found another home a long time ago,  but I will never forget that "ah ha moment."

 I learned two important lessons on that trip:
1. When you find yourself unable to move forward, change your point of view.
2. Always take a closer look.

 It reminded me of the first verse of a somewhat long and rambling poem by William Blake,   
To See the World in a Grain of Sand:

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour. 
I have always loved those particular lines.  In one way or another, it is what all artists do.

This painting is on gallery wrapped canvas,  1.5 inches deep and is meant to be displayed without a frame.  I think it is my favorite of this series so far, but then I have said that about all of them.  It is listed on Daily Painters and Art Helping Animals and I hope to have it on Fine Art America soon.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Dinner Plate Hibiscus

Oil on gallery wrapped canvas
12 x  12
1.5 inches deep

The newest in my series of garden flower portraits is called a "Dinner Plate Hibiscus," because it is supposed to be the size of a dinner plate,  though I am sure that eating all the food on something so big would make me gain weight!  The hibiscus is often considered a tropical plant, but this one is a hardy variety that does very well in my part of the country.  It usually blooms around the middle of August and it is well worth the wait. With its oversize, vibrantly colored  blooms the hibiscus could have been the centerpiece flower in the Garden of Eden. Seeing it takes my breath away. What is such a lush exotic plant doing in my garden?

I have always loved flowers and have painted them many times over the years, but this series is new and a little different.  Each painting is in oil on gallery wrapped canvas,  either 12 x 12  or 12 x 16 inches in size and extra deep  - 1.5 inches.  No staples show on the sides and the edges are part of the painting, so no frame is needed.  It is a contemporary look that would also feel right at  home in a traditional setting, small enough to be displayed in a grouping, but large enough to hang alone.  All   but one have come from my garden.  The White Rose came from a floral shop and was in a Valentine bouquet from my husband!  There is something delicious about getting  right up into a flower to take in all its incredible beauty and detail.  It completely  fascinates me.  The response has been tremendously encouraging and I plan to keep painting them for a while.  I can't imagine either running out of flowers or growing tired of painting them.

We are coming out of several days of rain, though no severe storms this time around.  The bright red flower makes me think of the warm summer days ahead.  Maybe we might even see the sun today.  The weather man says so, but I am having a little trouble trusting him....

Have a great day!