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I put some of my feelings into a bundle arranged in different colors, placed them into a glass of cool fresh water, set them upon the table, then stood and gazed at them to begin learning who I am and what I want.

The two paintings separated by slightly over twenty years are similar.  The subjects are essentially the same.  A vase of flowers sits on the table.  Surrounding each bouquet are light airy background colors.  Whatever you see is there because I put it there.  I arranged the flowers and then painted them.  How the two works differ reveals not only what I learned in the intervening years, it reveals differences in the way I think in past and present.  We know it doesn’t reveal anything about the flowers because the flowers don’t change.

What’s the difference between a white background and a pale blue one?  What about the introduction of blue and orange together — those chromatic opposites — what is the meaning of that?  Or the emotional effect?  How does it make you feel to look at a bunch of daisies sitting on a table?  What are the connotations of daisies.  They mean something different from roses.  Why?  Nature has given them radically different forms. The rose has depths.  One remembers so many different experiences of flowers by smelling them, holding them, watching them grow, by receiving or giving them as gifts.

Do the details take you deeper into the feelings?  Are the details more elaborate emotional landscapes?  Shouldn’t we bring things closer for inspection? Closer is more.

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These things that reveal our lives to us are so important.  For me it’s art, for others, it is something else.  Give some thought to the things that connect you to your past and to who you are inside.

Even seeing the differences when you’re the spectator tells something about the two image ideas. The differences in your feelings when you look at different scenes can tell you much about yourself if you watch and listen to the thoughts and feelings.




6 thoughts on “graceful metaphors and symbols assembled in a bunch to be admired and examined

  1. Thank you, Rosie. That is such a kind thing to say. I did a bit of flower arranging, but flowers also have a way of arranging themselves. The element of the meticulous — and I especially thank you for noticing that — come from wanting so much to explore what is there to see. Anything that we look at has mystery inside it. I have tried to learn and I am still striving to learn to be comfortable with making mistakes because that willingness seems to be essential for meticulousness — for staying long in the process of looking. Look, record. Look some more, look more carefully. And then trust your eye and hand. Take a leap in drawing or painting — something like that.

  2. Interesting comparison. Both paintings are lovely. The second seems softer, looser, more nuanced, and perhaps more daring in your color combinations. Perhaps it reflects what happens to us as we grow as humans and as artists.

  3. thank you, Deborah — I am curious what will happen the next time I do flowers this way, curious what further changes will happen.

  4. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy the blog, Revelle. Thank you and no worries — the koi will return. They go off on vacation from time to time.

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