Saturday, June 2, 2012

My World Laughs in Flowers

My World Laughs in Flowers

Compass, Office Max Metallic Markers, Copic Markers, Recollections
Opaque Marker, GellyRoll Stardust Marker, Pelican Opaque Watercolors,

Art at the Center

Pelican Opaque Watercolors, Office Max Metallic Markers,
Pitt Pen, Copic Markers

I've been writing a lot, lately about what art means to me.  This spread is also about what botanical
art means to me in particular, and how I ended up being so attached to this subject matter. 
Feel like I've been working on this spread forever, and it has been a long process. 

The right page started as a stand along mandala "Letters in the Round" (Joanne Sharpe Lesson).
I wanted to integrate it into my larger journal.  I actually wanted to make this into a mind map with
the letters in a circle format, as the mind map components, but it has turned into decorated pages
that I still need to write in.

While I've made these pages I've been thinking about flowers and where I got connected to this
subject.  Here's what I think: I've had a special spot in my heart since I was a child.  Both my
mom and her mother had green thumbs.  One of my sisters is a Botanist and my other sister
has a lovely fence with climbing roses.  My grandmother lived on a farm and I remember her
bushes of lush peonies in the front yard, her row of Hollyhocks by the pump house, her brilliant
orange and black tiger lilies by her front door.  I associate my mom with blooming trees as well
as pansies and flowers of all kinds.  And the Lombard Lilac Festival, and, of course,
Georgia O'Keefe.

I remember my mother reading a beautifully illustrated book about flowers and fairies to me
when I was 4 or 5 and not wanting to return the book to the library.  What sealed it for me,
though, was a third grade teacher who showed us a slide show of flowers and vividly
communicated her love of botanical images.  I can't remember what she said about the
flowers she showed us but the beauty of those images is with me yet.

In art school I painted Matisse influenced portraits and then moved into Neo-Expressionist
canvases.  But while I worked in my work-study job in the media lab I drew pages and pages
of botanical drawings.  I used my trusty botanical field guide to make my drawings.
I never for a second considered this my "real art" but should have gotten a clue when someone
begged me to sell a page from my floral sketchbook to them.  Then I went off to get my
Masters in Art Therapy.  It's been an interesting and rewarding life.  For the last 20 years I
have either worked in private practice or as a college teacher.  But now, after all these years,
I've picked up my great love again.

It happened by accident when I stopped into the local free school to ask if I could teach an
artist trading cards class for them.  They told me it was too rarefied a topic (not true in my
world) but would I be available to teach a drawing class at the Denver Botanic Gardens?

Thank You Mother-Father God!  I've been doing it for two years now and it has been so great.
I don't care how girlie or sentimental some think flower paintings are.  They are my passion!
To me, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said "The Earth Laughs in Flowers".  My world too.

Below are the pages in their final form, with journal entries added.

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