Earth laughs in flowers.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love this quote! I guess as an artist, I may laugh in flowers, too, because 3 of my recent miniature paintings feature flowers and laughter.
I first painted the sunflower fields at Narni, Umbria almost 100 mini’s-ago (my new time designation). It was time to paint this field again from another of our dozens of 2009 photos. In this new piece, the village of Narni takes a bigger role in the mid-ground, along with its hilltop fortress, Rocca Albornoziana, on the left. And it brings to mind one of many late afternoons we sat on our apartment terrace, looking at this view with delicious aperitivi and our Italian host regaling us with information about the area. I asked him about the fortress and what was in it, meaning was it worth a visit. He answered that the only thing he knew about it was the richest man in town used it as a garage to store his extensive motorcycle collection. Uh, what? We were expecting to hear of valiant soldiers, brave Partisans, or maybe a duke or a princess, to match this spectacular view! By the looks on our faces, he knew he’d shattered some romantic notions so he shrugged and said “what can you do!” This cracked me up. We all started laughing. I hope I haven’t ruined the romance of this miniature for all of you, but it still makes me giggle!
Is there romance in this next miniature, “Coquelicots de Provence”? In my recollection of the memory associated with this piece… no, but there is laughter. On a 2008 trip to Provence, my friend Carrie and I were very preoccupied with finding poppies. Upon arrival in Aix-en-Provence, we weren’t having much luck as we’d only seen a few here and there, but nothing spectacular. A couple of days later, our walking group was being driven back to our hotel after a walk near Bonnieux when we saw a true field full of blazing poppies. We were so excited that we yelled at the top of our lungs like 5-year olds “Popppppiiiiieees! Stop! Stop!”. I’m not sure the driver knew what was going on, but he stopped the van, and us Canadian Crazies filed out with cameras blazing. Our patient guide, Rose, had to wrangle us back into the van and we continued on our way. That is, until we saw another field… “Popppppiiiiieees! Stop!” From one of those many poppy stops:
At the end of that same trip, Carrie and I ventured into Paris for a few days of shopping, museums, and eating. We were a bit “travelled out” which revealed itself in our classy choice of Parisian transportation, the Hop On-Hop Off bus. Forget reading the tour books or researching the Metro system, we opted for wherever the bright red, double-decker, open-roof, taxi-cursed bus monstrosity would take us. We’d sit up top with the wind in our hair, sunglasses on, stretched over a row of seats, and let Paris come to us! On one of our routes, we passed a Monceau Fleurs flower shop that I photographed and since then have turned into 2 larger ink and watercolour paintings (“The Parisian Affliction of Floral Indecision” and “Parisian Floral Employment“, both sold). These paintings have come to represent our visit to Paris, and all the laughter we share when we travel together. We’ve got plans for an autumn Italian trip, but in anticipation of the fun to come, I painted a miniature of the last flower shop photo I have, “Paris Flower Shop”.
For this batch of Mini’s anyway, this artist does laugh in flowers!
All pieces are 2.5″ x 3.5″; ink and watercolour on archival quality watercolour paper.
On exhibit next at Artfest Kingston