Images and stories of flowers from my exhibition of paintings at Bear River Artworks Gallery, 1913 Clementsvale Road, Bear River NS.
April 15 – 23, 2017. Daily 1 – 4pm
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Limiting the colours on my palette is one of my constant challenges. I’m so glad I did for this painting! Forsythia is another Spring harbinger and I’m lucky to have a clump growing that I can see from the studio window. The forsythia in the painting and those in the gallery today are both from that bush.
My grandmother, Flora Mary, grew lots of flowers. Her 1/4 acre was an oasis for me, a downtown Toronto child. She had forsythia and even then I hoped that when I grew up, I could have my own.
I started this painting in the fall with my end-of-season garden blooms. I put it away for a month and when I pulled it out again in the dead of winter, I worked in a lot of sombre reds. The background was repainted quite a few times until it felt right.
The title is from the poem “Mutability” by Shelley that talks about impermanence.
“The flower that smiles to-day, to-morrow dies”
That pale green of early spring signals the end of winter. I love combining orange-reds and yellow-greens in a painting. There are so many flowers among my favorites and tulips are certainly on that long list. What would I do without a bouquet of tulips from the store in the snow season?
This painting includes many of my garden flowers. I prefer the old-fashioned ones because they descend from all our ancestors. I am so appreciative that they were grown and saved and divided and shared.
I can almost tell you for sure what day at the end of January that our grocery stores in Digby carry tulips. They usually come from a greenhouse on PEI and it must be a very happy place to be when snow is falling.
I do grow my own tulips as well, but it is the store-bought winter ones that give me hope and remind me of renewal.
This painting has special significance in this show because it was the first I completed after a hiatus from painting where I wondered if I even wanted to paint again. I started the painting last summer and set it aside. Months later I put it back on the easel and mixed up some black paint and ink and let the brush dance to get some graphic elements into it, some more contrast. As I worked on it over the next days, something woke up in me again. By the time it was finished I felt happy about painting and knew I could get back to work and create a body of work for this show.
We have an annual plant sale in Bear River and one year I got some tall, yellow iris. They bloom at the same time the purple lupines are in full force and we have 100’s of wild ones on our land. It’s wonderful watching the lupines telescope upwards and lengthen. They transform over a period of a few weeks.
I used a light, neutral background colour in this painting to emphasise the graphic shapes or silhouettes of the flowers.
This is one of my favorite paintings in this show.
The background in this painting is from a memory of my grandmother’s house. I kept it unclear because that’s how memories of the past present themselves.
The red tulips are very much in focus and vital. But that’s the gift of blooming flowers, isn’t it?
This is one of my show favorites.
A few years ago I planted a black iris and now I have several blooms that are stunning and dramatic. I had to paint them! I chose a raw sienna background to keep the painting grounded in earth colours.
This painting is a nod to the work of Vancouver painter Bobbie Burgers whose enormous paintings feature larger than life, dripping flowers.