Flowers as Laughter ( acrylic on canvas - 34 by 34 inches)
I am looking for another layer of meaningfulness in my painting, something beyond what it depicts and the formal elements of composition, colors and textures. I take photographs in nature and paint from them. That is enough for some artists but I keep wanting my paintings to take me on an imaginary journey and inspire me to write something.
I paint just about every day. Each morning I sit with my cup of coffee looking at what was done the day before and wait for inspiration. Sometimes it comes easily, it is obvious that one area is all wrong and needs to be fixed. Other times I put the painting aside for a few days until it dawns on me how I can make it better. It is hard to say when it is finished because I may see something in the future that it needs but this one, Flowers as Laughter,... I think it is complete.
It started with a photograph of a flowering bush reflected in water. I loved the way the light and colors reflected off the water and the funny little patterns made by the branches and flowers. When I started painting I got all caught up with the shapes and the tiny details, rarely stepping back to see the light shining around the edges and the whole dark area in the middle. There is a zone of reds on the right side and I particularly like the flickering branch in the upper left corner. It is satisfying that my eye gets drawn around and around through the painting and also I like mentally isolating one clump of colors against another.
It was a hard painting to photograph because the colors are kind of glowing and the camera read them in a funny way making everything too light and then bleaching it out. When I changed the exposure it took the life out of it and looked wrong too.
What interests me most is that the bright blue squiggles in the center seem to dance around and almost lift off the surface. They remind me of a sudden outburst of laughter. The more I look at it the more the brightly colored shapes seem to move around and the more it reminds me of laughter. That is the reason for the name “Flowers as Laughter”. What is laughter but a sudden expression of delight because something strikes our mind in a unique, unexpected way? I guess we don’t see so much laughter in nature. It’s more of a human thing but I have started seeing flowers as laughter. The plants in my back yard are all a stable reliable green color and now that it is Spring, many of them have outbursts of color, sweet bright sensuous curving petals of delight. It is a kind of visual laughter.
This may be the artistic process. You see something. You paint it and then after that you see it in a new way. I now see flowers as laughter.