Thursday, June 14, 2018

Gathering Resources for My Botanical Paintings

With the launch of, I thought I would share with you how I go about collecting resources for painting flowers. Mostly, I walk my dog. Just as my landscapes are about a place in Northern Minnesota that I love, and my still lifes are about the food I eat (or don't eat), my botanical paintings are about where I live. I walk my dog twice a day every day of the year. here she is sitting patiently waiting to cross a street. She's a good dog.

Over the years I have planted many different flowers in my yard and have made paintings of them, but I also peruse my neighborhood and study flowers. There are gardens I watch and make sure to pass by almost every day. There are others that I watch on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. In this manner I come across some amazing flowers of which I take numerous pictures.

Now, I wish I could peruse all of my neighbor's gardens, but many of them I don't know, so I have a rule to make sure I do not bother them. In order to take a picture or check out a flower in a yard on my dog walk, I have to always leave one foot on the sidewalk. It is a fun challenge at times, but really, people love to plant flowers and there is a great variety along the sidewalk.

I also live near Como Park, Saint Paul, Minnesota. There are several gardens and flowering trees in and around the park, as well as an entire conservatory of plants. I used to work at the conservatory and once had the person in charge of the conservatory's orchid collection take drawing lessons form me. So, if I don't have an orchid I want in my studio or house, I go to the conservatory and work from their collection.

When I do take pictures, I often am getting down in there to get details. Sometimes this means shooting through a chain-link fence or being at ground level, like in this photo. One time I was extremely interested in getting the underside of some flower leaves, so I laid down in a garden bed on an alley, to get the perfect shot. The owner came out of his garage to find me laying amongst his flowers. He didn't say anything - just looked at me. I introduced myself and that I am an artist that makes paintings of flowers and that his garden was particularly beautiful. He signaled me to follow him. I followed. He led me around his garage and through his backyard. We entered into his next door neighbor's back yard that didn't have a stitch of grass - nothing but flowers. He said "Go ahead and take pictures. I'll let Francis know its okay if she wonders what's going on." He stood guard for the next half-hour while I took pictures of all kinds of flowers. From that summer forward, when I would walk my dog I would see him outside at his patio table and he would invite me over, pet my dog and give me a beer while we talked about life. When the beer was done, Delilah and I would finish our walk. As I have said before - art is not my life, but a vehicle for it.

Monday, June 4, 2018

New Website: Flower Art Gallery

Over the years I have equally enjoyed making oil paintings of landscapes and still-lifes and watercolors of floral subjects. Looking at the images in this newsletter, you can see that I paint in different styles for the different media. Not only our my styles of painting different, the works are different in intent. The oil paintings, to me, our objects not images. They are each a unique vessel that receives my energy and perception and are then deepened through your experience of them. The botanical watercolors have always been paintings that have been associated, for me, with teaching people how to paint and art prints that are created for the Minnesota State Horticultural Society. They are a more community and genre driven art than my oil paintings. So, for me, in many ways, they are serious paintings that are more flexible in terms of being open for a variety of formats. To this end, I have created a separate website for my botanical paintings that will provide an opportunity to buy prints and select products with the images on them.

Currently, fine art prints, greeting cards, mugs and buttons are available. Oh, those buttons - I have been doing those for years and now you can buy them straight from my website. If interested in a print, you can see a preview of the print on a wall of a color of your choosing. The print, framed or matted, will appear in proportion to its surrounding furniture, etc. It is really handy in helping determine if the work will look good in a room like yours. 
In the coming months, I will be adding flower paintings and new products. I'm very excited about this development and feel it can be a consistent way for people to engage with my botanical work.