In a detail of my current flower painting I see an opportunity to indulge in microcosm-making by which I mean that there’s enough “stuff” in just one small section of the bouquet to create a whole series of new works. Is mind-boggling to consider. Maybe here’s one reason why I am always making “studies” — it’s just that there’s so much to gaze into, Mother Nature being so mesmerizing.
Here’s a photo of roughly the same bit of still life as it appears in the section of painting illustrated above. Astute readers will notice that these flowers are not real.
It’s not Mother Nature in the flowers that I find so mesmerizing in this instance, but Mother Nature in the photons — all those marvelous little light-thingys bouncing around in amongst all the other thingys.
I did a drawing too (one of many).
I find myself pursuing the same themes over and over. They come in many guises. Sometimes they are subjects as in my koi pictures. When I did my first few paintings of koi, I thought I was doing something brand new, but over time I began to notice that “fish” were a part of my artwork from a very early date. They were just less numerous in my apprentice days. (I’ve become a more adept fisher-person, though I have yet to experience my Hemingway-esque “one that got away” moment.)
Currently I’m still doing flower painting — or all kinds of studies-for-flower paintings. (Why must I always be doings “studies for”? — another mystery for the psychologist’s couch where I am both patient and doctor.) I find that my flower paintings are not like some of the flower paintings I see other artists do. Other artist have rather more respect for actual flowers than I do. Me, I seem to be positively mesmerized by just the shape of the bunch itself. How do I know this? I see it here:
This is a photograph I took of an image on the label of a Snapple Bottle. Is a snappy image on this Snapple bottle, don’t you think? I was playing with my daughter’s camera and its high-resolution micro feature and needed something to photograph so I grabbed a random object that was near at hand — or so I supposed. But there it is again, that “bunch” shape that so often comprises the form of the bouquet in my flower paintings. I seek these things out evidently: these shapes that are a little like the canopy of certain species of trees.
Don’t know if it’s important for artists to discover their personal inward visual obsessions or whether discovering them has any impact at all upon making art. But I’ve gotta tell you, that scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind has always resonated with me.
Did I mention that I always eat all my broccoli. Why it’s practically my favorite vegetable. Would somebody pass the mashed potatoes, please?