PAINTED FLOWERS No. 1 ~ The inspiration behind the painting & resolving a creative impasse May 14 2021
It was winter 2019 and I was on the hunt for new inspiration. I had been searching for a while, feeling stuck in a place that didn’t feel good. A swirling mass of creative ideas had taken root inside me but I had no idea how to pictorialise them. Seemingly overnight it felt like everything I had painted before was no longer enough. From past experiences I knew that trying to intellectualise what was happening would amount to nothing. I had to approach this stalemate intuitively, with new eyes, keeping an open mind.
Wassily Kandinsky wrote in 1912 ~ “If the soul of the artist is alive, then there is no need to bolster it with cerebration and theories. It will find something to say of its own accord, something that may, at that moment, remain unclear even to the artist himself.”
Taking Kandinsky’s words to heart, I began painting in an experiment of colour rather than form. Colour has a way of carrying you on a wave of emotion. The deep crimson hues in this painting, highly evocative of the bohemian salons in the late 19th century, became for me a kind of connection to an ‘other-worldly’ experience that set the tone for the subject matter.
The imagery in this work however came to me slowly, presenting itself gradually over many months. Both art and dreams trade in symbols and imagination, and can represent thoughts and feelings often not spoken about or acknowledged, even to ourselves.
The influence of Art Nouveau’s characteristic curves form a deep symbolic presence here. The sinuous, crimson rose vine, woven around her like a mystery, appears to be pressing in tightly and yet, no thorn has punctuated her skin, not one drop of blood lost. Far from being a torturous experience, it is her barrier of protection. We may well ask ourselves, what from?
The highly reflective, rich shimmer of copper leaf brings a luminous glow to the painting. At a certain time of the day, her radiant halo seems to be lit from behind. Reminiscent of religious iconography, she comes to life as the embodiment of the divine feminine, emanating love and passion.
The completion of this work has resolved the creative block I was going through by inspiring new imagery for a series of works that further explore our history through unspoken and often unacknowledged experiences and emotions.