My husband and I have recently planted a lot of flowers. Some were plants we bought, others we’ve planted from seeds. We enjoyed making this little garden area beneath the apple tree.
I love flowers. I love sitting outside each morning, listening to the birds, and seeing this beautiful display of color. It’s a lovely way to begin each day.
Claude Monet loved flowers, too. “I must have flowers,” he said. “Always, always.” Maybe that’s why he’s always been one of my favorite artists.
Recently I came across this video of Monet painting in his garden. Watching this brought tears to my eyes, to think that I was actually seeing one of the greatest artists of all time as he put paint on a canvas! I only wish the film — made in 1915 — could have been in color.
Like Monet, I must have flowers, and one recent morning as I sat outside enjoying the beauty of the flowers around the apple tree, I knew I wanted to paint flowers. I rushed inside, grabbed a canvas, and looked at my palette. I’d finished a small little landscape painting the previous day and still had little dabs of paint there. I looked at the colors and all I saw were flowers, flowers, flowers.
The colors were nothing like the colors of our flowers around the apple tree, but this is the thing about inspiration — it moves us to create in different ways. I knew I could never capture the beauty and glorious colors of our flowers, but I could take my own vision and put it on the canvas.
I thought about Monet, recalled him standing before his canvas, and imagined him making those brush strokes. Maybe I even imagined him standing beside me, looking around my studio, and encouraging me to pick up this brush or that brush and just make marks.
I know nothing about painting florals, but it didn’t matter. I knew what I wanted to do. I dabbed colors here and there, made bold, impasto brush strokes. I played with greens, played with fan brushes, and I painted my flowers — not the ones around the apple tree but the ones I saw in some imaginary garden on a bright summer’s day.
Later, I came back and added more colors, more imaginative flowers. This was a totally spontaneous painting, no thoughts about where or how or even why I was putting paints here and there. It was simply about what I felt. I love flowers. I wanted to express that love with my brushstrokes.
As I look at it now, I’m a bit uncertain as to whether I went too far with this, or if maybe I haven’t quite gone far enough. I think that’s probably a good place to leave it.
I loved doing this as a purely intuitive painting, simply trusting myself as an artist to put down the right colors in all the right places — and all the while re-assuring myself that if anything looked wrong I could always go back and change it.
That happened a time or two, and that felt good, too. This painting was all about knowing what to do without knowing… you know? It was instinctive, impressionistic, and, I hope, expressive.
I hope, too, that you enjoy my bouquet of flowers.