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 M O N T H L Y B L O G ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ FEBRUARY 2018 CONTEMPLATION OF A FLOWER 'The earth laughs in flowers' Ralph Waldo Emerson I feel immensely privileged that I am able to spend a chunk of my time every week studying and painting something so profoundly beautiful as a flower. I'm not a great gardener or a wannabe florist. There are still many flowers I've never even heard of but somehow flowers have become my go to subject matter for my paintings and in times when I have diverted to another subject matter, I am easily lured back in by one I feel I need and have to paint. More often than not it is their colour that magnetises me to them. Colour is a great love of mine, something I couldn't imagine living without, and the flower serves as its perfect advertisement. To see a flower stand amidst a flank of green in a garden, scattered across a woodland floor or even one solitary bloom standing alongside a dusty, littered stretch of road is something. They don't scream out for attention or kick up a fuss when change is afoot but quietly go about their purpose trusting in their moment to moment evolution, adapting to any external disruptions, whether that be shifts in weather or an unannounced visit from an insect or animal as time flicks them forwards through the natural cycles of life, through the seasons and through the ever stronger, regrettably not always positive, human influence on earth. Each flower that exists on earth is an intricate creation, purposely formed for its individual reckoning. For one species that may be its heady scent for attracting bees, another its bright colouring for luring in a butterfly. As a human, contemplating a flower, they seem to stand effortlessly poised and hovering in a perfect state of being and beauty. We would do well to watch and learn from them as our teachers, exhibiting a way to stand bravely, focused on our mission in life, maintaining our inner essence and purpose while at the same time adapting peacefully to the changes that are happening around us. They own their space on earth whatever stage in life they are at, sometimes parched and decaying, other times a sapling or bud buzzing with new life. Even though to the onlooker a flower appears to just be, as with any living thing, a hive of activity is taking place under its surface. It's rare, if at all, that we as humans spend time contemplating the flower's exceptional creation. Eckhart Tolle's, 'A New Earth' describes a time many years ago when 'the first flower ever to appear on the planet opens up to receive the rays of the sun.' He goes on,' The first flower probably did not survive long, and flowers must have remained rare and isolated phenomena, since conditions were most likely not yet favourable for a widespread flowering to occur. One day, however, a critical threshold was reached, and suddenly there would have been an explosion of colour and scent all over the planet....flowers were most likely the first thing humans came to value that had no utilitarian purpose for them, that is to say, was not linked to survival.' Nowadays we have almost come to assume their existence but even so they continue to play an unparalleled role in bringing joy and love into many people's lives. So, I thank the flower for all it has given me and, if I can, I will keep painting them for as I long as I continue to be drawn to them. I'm now off to buy myself some, perhaps some bulbs for planting and I urge you to do the same. THIS MONTH I F O L L O W E D....... I follow three super creative and talented people/ businesses on Instagram who work closely with flowers. Charlie McCormick, who has passed his love of dahlias on to me. I first came across him when I went to his very memorable pop-up at Ben Pentreath and Bridie Hall's shop, Pentreath & Hall. The room was bursting with vases of brightly coloured dahlias and I bought a big bunch along with some paper white narcissi. His website is definitely worth a visit too. click on image below. Every post of designer, Luciano Giubbilei's is like-worthy (!). His wild flower meadow planting with swathes of ornamental grasses and flickers of colour, whether cornflower blues, shades of white or vibrant pinks is my idea of a perfect garden. With his photography he has an incredible way of capturing colour and the way light is cast across a landscape or building. I'll have to get going and buy a house with a noteworthy stretch of garden and then set about convincing him to come and transform it for me. I might start with a visit to Great Dixter where he took a residency under head gardner, Fergus Garrett. Picture taken from The Times (https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/luciano-giubbilei-on-great-dixter-part-3-rip-it-to-shreds-lph5078njw7) Scarlet and Willow in Kensal Rise is my go to place for a bunch of flowers or foliage. The business was set up by Vic Brotherson, who trained at Wild at Heart and her two sisters. I'd recommend a visit to their shop to see shelves of bouquets lined up outside, a room filled with a plethora of pots and vases and the vintage italian van parked outside. Picture taken from www.scarletandviolet.com  R e c e n t B l o g P o s t s March | 'Intimacy of a Self-Portrait' February | 'Contemplation of a Flower' January | 'Childhood & Vivid Imaginations' December | 'Throwing Away Art That Went Wrong' November | 'The Creative Process' October | 'The New Craftsmen' September | 'The Italian Garden, Westonbirt'
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