Apr 25, 2012

Flowers in my Garden

Linda Lover
Though I must wait for spring to see the flowers begin to bloom, with painting I can have flowers all year long. Throughout the growing season I often take photos of my gardens, even the vegetables and herbs, though the only herbs I have are chives and dill, unless you consider wild carrot. Not overlooking the colorful weeds, which, for me, come under the category of wildflowers. Despite the fact that they pop up in places where I’d rather not have them growing, I still appreciate the vibrant purples of little violets, the bright yellow sunbursts of dandelions and the periwinkle blue stems of ground ivy. All flowers are unique and each leaf is unique to that flower and each one has the potential to inspire a painting. Photos are excellent references for when I feel like painting a tulip in December or a poinsettia in July. When I have time to drop by a thrift store, I search the shelves for garden books and magazines. Even children’s storybooks can sometimes hold worthwhile examples, especially for color.

There are several categories of flowers and endless varieties in each; some are painted more than others. Often I find myself intrigued by unusual flowers such as the Himalayan Blue Poppy. A few years ago, Kay and Co. had quite a splash of products using this flower.

 Roses are probably one of the most favored to paint, usually types such as the American Beauty or the old English cabbage roses. But my favorite is the wild rose, the ones that used to grow profusely in Iowa, beautifying even desolate areas like along railway tracks and drainage ditches. They were made up of single petals and reminded me of bright pink apple blossoms. By the way, apple blossoms and roses come from the same family. Did you ever notice how rose hips resemble tiny apples?

So the next time you want to paint a flower, consider those beyond the common garden varieties. There are countless wildflowers, herbs, houseplants, weeds, even exotics like orchids and cacti. Blossoming trees, shrubs and bushes are wonderful subjects, too.

 When thinking in color options, it will expand inspiration even farther. Flowers offer the opportunity use a lot of those bright and beautiful paint colors, too, ones that seldom get selected such as the mulberries, corals, and violets. Seed packets, garden catalogs and even a trip to a green house are great examples and opportunities to explore the world of flowers.
Each year I find the catalogs have come up with a new variety or a new color mix. I became interested in twice blooming iris a few years ago, and when I began to investigate I was amazed at the color choices. Not only did they come in solid colors but two-tone and some where deep colors blended into lighter ones, colors to match the rainbow and then some. There seems to be no end when creating something new when painting flowers.

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