I’m on a bit of a mission.
To create the *perfect* floral picture.
There’s a small problem.
I don’t really have a clue what a *perfect floral picture* looks like.
Hmm. When I look around for inspiration, I find myself in awe of others who seem much more than capable of capturing and creating some exquisite images – many of these are of floral origin or they include an element of flora within them somewhere. Some are gorgeous, serene, colourful and often textural too, whilst others are at the very least pretty.
But I’m not after pretty. Or even ‘near-perfect’.
So, it begs the question, what does ‘perfect’ look like to me? To anyone?
And therein lies the essence of such a question of course.
Because everyone has an opinion and opinions are subjective – they have to be, it’s what makes us individuals. If everyone had the same opinion about everything then we’d be living in some Orwellian nightmare that I, for one, would rather not consider a viable option, thank you very much. It would be awful, in the most true sense of that word.
Earlier this week I was reading an article by a friend from the Open Group for Bedlam Farm, who had been utterly devastated by the opinion of someone whom she figured was fairly important (to her) being a long way from the ideal ‘This is fabulous work – you are a force of nature, a creative genius and I bow to your awesomeness!‘ kind of feedback that clearly wasn’t actually expected. Even the most hardy of souls longs for acceptance, for reassurance and for encouraging feedback and when it’s not forthcoming, we find ourselves emotionally beaten up. It’s what we all do – anyone who makes something where there was nothing before. Anyone who ‘creates’ something, often from disparate raw materials – some pieces of fabric, a blank sheet of paper/computer screen, paints, knitting needles and some hanks of wool perhaps. It’s not the elements of what is used that makes something *art*, but the practicality of creating something from these things that makes a creative soul *tick*. And when someone offers an opinion on the outcome of all that creativity, we like to think that we’ve steeled ourselves for anything that comes our way, but the reality is of course that criticism, no matter how it is given, can usually sneak between the chinks of armour to slice our creative souls into a million teeny pieces as effectively as the traditional Japanese santoku.
My friend spent some considerable time thinking about what this knock-back had meant to her, for her; how it affected what she wrote or created in the future and came up with the awesome conclusion that everyone’s opinions are just and only that – their viewpoints, neither more or less valid than anyone else’s viewpoints. As ever, with sound advice coming from the inestimable Jon Katz, along the lines of ‘Never read what the critics say‘ I felt as though I had been taught a truly invaluable lesson. Stop trying to please others – you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can never please all of them all of the time. Simple, isn’t it? You’d think.
Now, if only I could come to terms with my own opinion, then maybe I’d be able to *see* that elusive perfection that I’m searching for. I wonder of Van Gogh or Frida Khalo or any of the other inspirational artists I can think of could *see* what perfection looked like for them? Did they ever achieve it? Does anyone?
So, with that in mind, I’m offering a few pictures that were captured earlier this weekend, most of which I’ve manipulated to create something new, which technically at least, I think perhaps makes me an artist.
I’m really not ready to put that down as my occupation though…
The City of Leeds rose was planted late – only about two months ago. The first buds began to open this week. It’s a stunning flower, with soft velvety petals and a deep, rich pink hue that seems almost perfect to me. It’s a challenge to get some good lighting though!
Like many amateur gardeners, I make up my own hanging baskets, usually filled with petunias, geraniums, fuchsias and lobelia, which I think gives a nice colour selection to them. The lobelia has been particularly profusely flowering this year so far.
My sweet peas adorn a south-facing wall about fifteen metres from my studio door. I don’t often venture out when it’s been raining, but it was warm rain, so I thought this might be OK. I’ve started to use a technique to extend the original picture into a framed mat – this one is lightly blurred. Maybe its the colours, but I do like this one.
The pinks sit next to the night-scented stock, creating a heady cocktail of perfume each evening. Their variegated petals look like a painting to me.
I have an ongoing battle with the wild poppies that love to pop up all over the place, often uninvited. This one sits happily among the sweet peas, like a cuckoo in a strangers’ nest. When I looked really carefully, I noticed the centre; far from the plain black button that I thought was what I’d find, in reality, there’s this delicate nine-pointed star with gossamery tendrils supporting tiny black seeds. And the pollen is purple! Who knew?
Naturally, I had to orb it! For poppy lovers, I wanted to extend the boundary once more, adding the original image incorporated into the mat background.
Asiatic lilies are undoubtedly showy, brightly coloured flowers with proper in-your-face-gorgeousness. I loved the colour on this one and treated it to a focus on that by using a Photoshop filter that gives a wide brush or palette-knife feel to the image. For me this one is all about the colour and details needed to simply take the bus home.
I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to see bees pollinating so busily each day. This guy has his trendy U2 sunny’s perched up on his forehead (in my imagination – stay with me here people!) whilst he gorges himself on the strawberry flower’s offering. I’m just chuffed that I’ll be getting some delicious strawberries in a few weeks… I thought the plant had died!
In my efforts to attract pollinating insects, bees and butterflies, to my garden, I’ve scattered wildflower seeds all over the place – this one is a bit like a cornflower (or Batchelor buttons as I’ve heard them called) but it’s definitely not a cornflower. However, I find spiky flowers acquire this glorious linear quality when they are rondulated.
Of course, as ever, I do value your opinions about my work. I am not quite as evolved down that artistic path yet – but at least I am stepping out and walking down that road, something I couldn’t do a few months ago.
I’ve got nothing when it comes to an E.T.A. though…
Thanks for reading!