Flowery Thoughts

[singlepic id=274 w=460 h=320 float=] I'm making good on my promise to spend more time in the studio painting, most recently working on some more of my hydrangeas. Rubystar Study, a small sketch for a larger pastel, is my first attempt at working with a now-fading reddish-pink hydrangea that I bought several months ago. These red hydrangea pastels have been a great opportunity to dig deeper into the beautiful rich dark reds in my Ludwig darks set. I've been trying to find reds like these for years with no luck, and I have no idea how I would have done this pastel with out them.

It feels odd to be talking about painting flowers. I really do not think of myself as a floral artist. I rarely paint actual flowers, and my paintings are not typical still-life type compositions, nor are they particularly cheerful, traditional, or anything else that comes to mind when I think of floral art. I was pleasantly amused when one of my paintings was described as "creepy" by a Sausalito customer (as she was buying the painting). "Mysterious" is another label I like for my work.  All of which is probably why I spent the better part of two days harumphing after being referred to as a floral artist over the weekend. 

Although when I think about it, there are many artists whose work I very much admire, and which would probably be called floral for lack of a better term. My college painting professor, Robert Gilmore, leaps to mind, although I don't think he would ever call his own work floral either. He's called it many things, from landscape to possibly some version of abstract, but never, ever floral. Maybe that's where I get my ideas about the word. Another artist who does fantastic work with floral subjects is Neece Clark. Her giant modern paintings inspired by tropical blooms are fresh, exciting and dramatic. But again, although flowers inspire her work, I think of it as contemporary, near-abstract, you name it, but not floral. And don't even get me started about Georgia O'Keefe...

Given all of that, I think the problem might just be in my own head. Maybe it's time for me to rethink my own definition of the term "floral," and embrace it for the broad and diverse category that it really is.