I'm going to dive into Part I of the in's and out's of my newest series ---- BOUQUET --- and how I got to this point. That's vague. Let me rephrase. How I got to this point in it's creation, content, subject matter... eh, let's just move on. I'll explain more.
Giving you an artist's perspective on a collection is something I want to make a regular thing. I know I'll be painting plants and moving ink around a canvas for a good while but each collection is unique and I think you can learn something about me from it. Let's begin, shall we?
Part I: Inspiration.
You can't have a body of work without something that drives you crazy enough to MAKE. Something that is going around in your head from sun up to sun down and the only way to get it out is to put pencil to paper. Above are some crucial images that affected this series and where I am now in my walk as an artist. Pops of bright color and ochre really called to me throughout the past few months. I normally shy away these days from doing TOO much color - everyone wants grey and soft blue it seems - but I have so much fun with color. So on a lot of my bigger, hand-built wood panels I went with a more subdued palate. But with my works on paper there was no holding back. I'll show examples of the collection in a few moments. In addition to the colors that inspired me, we can't forget about the PLANTS! I'm still scratching my head on this one... we don't own a fiddle leaf fig tree. I'm constantly surrounded by them at work, at my friend's homes (Bree!) and I admire the care they take. They really make house plants seem personified. On top of that, the rest of the flora and foliage I've been portraying in my work has literally (yes, literally) come out of me in a stream of conscience. One day I was just painting my usual patches of color, ready to go in with layers of pencil when I stopped and grabbed a thin paintbrush and BABY PINK PAINT (I don't even know why I have pink paint) and I painted a single, thin, gorgeous lily leaf.
My grandparents grew and bred day lilies my entire childhood and were quite well-known in the middle Georgia area for such. They won countless "You Yard is the Prettiest" awards, year after year and they tended their massive gardens every single day, up into their 70's. They had lush hydrangea bushes, pear trees, and so many tall pines. I can remember as a little girl helping Mimi pluck the weeds and talking about names for the new flowers they'd made. I even had my own - it was peach with a yellow center and a ruffle along the edge of each petal. It was called "Allison My Love" because that's what Mimi always referred to me as, at least when I was behaving. I used to walk through the paths she built with monkey grass padded in fresh straw and count all of the blooms. Then I would walk to Pop's workshop and "help" him build something he was making as a favor to a complete stranger. And it's only now as I'm sitting here really trying to think about why I feel so called to paint these images that I understand. I would walk through their flower beds and be so careful not to hurt any of the flowers - not a single part of them. I would stroke their long leaves and bend down to smell their sweet scent. For a lot of my childhood they were the only thing that kept me company when I stayed with my grandparents. That sounds sad but it isn't - I loved being outside and being around all of the pretty blooms. I would sit in their garden swing for hours and just be. Perhaps those were some of the happiest times of my life as little girl and now, leading up to my 30's, I am being told by God and my sub-conscience to revisit these sweet memories and give them new life. For me, blooms and foliage bring happiness. So to paint them is permanent happiness. And who wouldn't want that?
Stay tuned for Bouquet Series Part II: Process later this week. Any questions or thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below!