Friday, March 7, 2014

A Passion for Petals

 I've been invited to contribute to an art compilation book, focusing on flowers as a theme. The book required that I provided some words on 'why I'm inspired by flowers'.  Now I do like flowers, but the subject is a difficult one. In truth I'm pretty passionate about the importance of the 'Still life' subject as whole (perhaps a post for another time?), but I see the flower as only part of that equation.

Within still life it is the combination of objects that excited me. The grouping of forms - geometric structure of tables and bowls, vases etc. mixed with organic geometry from fruits; and finally the organic sprawl and drama of a bouquet of flowers. The combination of these elements creates the drama! But having said that, I needed to focus on only the flowers for this book. So here, for your reading pleasure, are my thoughts on the subject, (with only a little bending of the truth and embellishment)...

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Why Flowers?

The everyday subjects of a still life are all around us in our day-to-day existence. They are unseen and forgotten. ‘Still life’ painting asks us to stop and consider these objects, to appreciate the beauty within them, to no longer take them for granted. ‘Still life’ demands our attention for these objects, and no object is as important and dramatic within a ‘still life’ composition than the flower.

To me flowers are an intense distillation of the world around us. Every color imaginable can be found within their petals, leaves, and thorns. Their complex organic geometry a wonder to behold - soft curves endlessly turning into each other, or perhaps strong hard angles and vertical lines, the one overlapping the next. The variety and complexity or each flower is always new fresh and exciting. At any given moment they can show us a range of visual information or emotions - elegance, beauty, simplicity, complexity, life and of course death. 


A single flower can yield untold beauty and nuance. It is the job of the artist to present his message and that of the subject within each painting. Just like a camera, a painting captures a single moment in time, a snapshot in the short life of a flower. But what moment to catch, what message to hold for all time? A newly opened flower freshly cut from a spring garden, or perhaps the last hours of it’s life, stems bent, leaves spotted and yellowed, petals fallen to the ground? It is this endless journey of exploration, study and transformation, that present continual inspiration to me.

My work is strongly rooted in the post-impressionist movement. Many link ‘Fauvism’ and artists such as Gauguin, Cezanne, and Matisse to my work. However on closer examination elements of late expressionism and modernist abstraction can be witnessed. For example, my palettes are often bolder, the compositions more contemporary, and color planes presented flatter than the traditional post-impressionists. It’s been said there’s nothing ‘still’ about my ‘still lifes’; each shows movement and energy within the application of brush strokes and colors, nowhere do I feel this is shown better than in the tangled beauty of the flowers.

When approaching one of my ‘Still life’ paintings I always begin with the flowers. From there I find sympathetic drapes, cloths, vases, fruit and other elements that will work with the plant or flower bouquet. It begins with the flowers and the idea grows from there. Color is all important, - the process of translating the color and mood of the flowers within the environment, finding the voice and theme within the painting.

I want my paintings to translate what I see before me, but with my own feelings and ideas. I strive to create a singularly unique vision on the world. A projection of my feelings, and imagination on the subject, providing a distinctive voice that is unlike anything else. I wish to elevate the subject, take the everyday and empower it with the drama and greatness it deserves.

1 comment:

  1. I love how you see flowers. They were my very first subject, and I left them along the way when I left South Carolina. I now live in the desert of New Mexico and miss them very much. Last summer I visited the Hondo iris Farm and am chomping at the bit to go back and paint them.

    Seeing your lovely interpretations push me to go down the road ASAP.