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The Path of a Petal

The street I grew up on was lined with Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees which bloomed early April before the leaves grew and created a pink canopy as I walked down the street. The Lower Mainland is prolific with these trees - and even now years later this tree dominates the landscape. A large Magnolia tree stood in a place of honour in our front yard adorned with large pink blooms unfolding towards the sun, while a vibrant Camilia shrub welcomed me to the back yard with its spring attire of prolific rose like flowers.

April in my northern home landscape is still dormant. It is then that I love to travel down to the south of BC to enjoy the blooming vibrance of spring and remember my youth. This year I was caught up in the detail of the pink flowers reminiscent of my home and eye saw them with new eyes, that of a painter. How can I capture the essence of a flower?

Focusing on the Essence of a Single Blossom - June 2021

Georgia O'Keefe painted many images of flowers, seeking to portray the essence of the plant by giving the images depth movement through the curves of the petals. In watercolour this takes on a new challenge as the goal is to have light show through the depth of the paint. To add texture and interest to the outer petals and on the stamen, I decided to try using salt which worked better than expected.

The Camellia Celebrates Spring with Voluptuous Petals of Red - June 2021

So I am moving closer - following the path of a petal in hopes to portray more than just an image but to give a few of these glorious tree flowers a place of honour.

A Magnolia Unfolds It's Regal Petals - June 2021

Georgia was able to capturing the path of petals while creating something free and full of movement and power. I am in awe of how the experienced painter can create something that is both precise and yet flows fluidly off the brush. For me this journey is still new, still in it's infancy as I work through first trying too hard to create a precise image, and then discover how what part of the painting is actually irrelevant to the story I am trying to tell.

Below are some of my earlier attempts at telling the story of spring through these flowers.

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