Something About Flowers

February 3, 2013 § 2 Comments

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Aside from their part in the cycle of life, I think flowers are here for 3 main reasons: 1.) to please the senses, 2.) to lift the spirit, and 3.) for artists to paint. They do all three for me, and I guess I’m particularly  guilty of the third.

I was the girl who sat for hours in the garden, sketching the array of flowers my father had lovingly planted and tended. They were there, they were pretty, they posed easily, I had time then, and a talent I liked to use. Not for any other purpose than the joy of seeing something come to life, become 3-dimensional on a flat surface simply by touches of pressure and shadings made with a regular old pencil. I was unintentionally honing a craft I would use my entire life.

I drew other things too – the odd sugar bowl, a barn, a tree, portraits from record albums of my favorite musicians. I’d leaf through National Geographic magazine and inevitably find something draw-worthy; a lot of the time it would be faces from places I’d not yet been, faces with great character and expression, or an interesting animal. I didn’t think I was very creative then ~ whether I naturally saw, or learned to see, my time with paper and pencil was all about shades and tones forming something “real”. I was practicing; perfecting skills, self-teaching. As time passed I’d feel free to venture into more “creative” and conceptual territory ~ but then, it was “how well can I draw this?”

So my first flowers were detailed pencil work. I played with ink and then watercolors, and finally oils. Each medium brought a different feeling, different nuances and different kinds of detail. But then, at some point on the canvas I strayed from detail (I’d always secretly wanted to – but old habits die hard, it was my “comfort zone” and received all kinds of accolades, so why stop a good thing?) and let the brush do more of the talking. I liked what it said.

That’s not to say I don’t, or won’t, do more “detail” (one peek at my dragon drawings and you’ll see that’s not been abandoned!), but I love the progression, the change, the freedom that’s come along at this point in the road that says, “Paint it however you want, Saxton. You’ve nothing to ‘prove’ anymore. You’ve earned your wings, now fly!” (Flying would be easier, of course, without the roof-overhead-syndrome, but it’ll all come, in its due time. )

Which brings me back to flowers. Those intoxicating blessings of beauty. They’ll always bloom on someone’s canvas, somewhere, I imagine, til the end of time, including some of mine. And that picture at the top of the page? ~ that’s one (though not from the garden, it calls my name). And I find myself wondering how I’ll paint it. It’s kind of exciting not knowing – letting go of the outcome. Which muse will take the wheel? We’ll see…!

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