Painting flowers, bringing joy and an awareness of the importance of native plants in our ecosystem.
Why do I paint blossoms? And what about flower power?
Blossoms. We gather them when heart and soul are felt the most. We adorn surroundings to enhance our joy in celebrating life events, births and weddings, or we bring flowers as offerings to soothe the aches of illness and death. Personally, I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to work in gardens of three different homes over the course of almost forty years. I have propagated, nurtured and loved lushly flowering- shrubs and trees, perennials and bulbs. My wish was to always have fresh flowers to bring as gifts. And all that time, I had quiet dreams of eventually creating oil paintings inspired by the blossoms from my garden. I have spent many hours until deep in the night watering and feeling one with the plant world. The years of gardening, initially a conscious action, evolved to an activity void of thought and one simply guided by what appeared necessary to be done next. I’d like to imagine that all people may find this incredible experience, whether it is in making music, in writing or in any passion one may have.
As a means of expressing gratitude for the healing and joy I have found in the garden, I hope that with these paintings I may share with others a ‘lift of spirit’ as I have had the chance to experience. It is my wish to offer through my work a glimpse of what awes me; and hopefully, reminds you of what awes you, when looking at a flower. Through my work, I’d like to remind us to observe their transient nature. I am forever intrigued by their awakening in the spring to the culmination of their breathtaking perfection when at their prime, as well as during their gradual demise back to a dormant or lifeless state. The rhythm of this process, miraculous to observe as the seasonal blooms come and go and their intrinsic beauty waxes and wanes, serves as a metaphor for the impermanence of our lives. The colors of hope for new and fresh beginnings and proof for the continuation of life inspire me and help to look forward to what the future may bring.
Pragmatically speaking, it is important to become aware of the role native flowers play in our world’s ecological system. The realization of their function should motivate us to preserve these species and protect them. A diversity of native blossoms attracts, besides the honeybee, a multitude of little-known native insects. These flowers are essential in supplying nutrition and also serve as host plants for these pollinators and other beneficial insects to lay eggs and to live and feed. For most of the food crops required for our daily sustenance, both pollinators and beneficial insects (such as ladybugs, who eat aphids) are desperately needed for pollination and pest control. There is basically no non-toxic, sustainable substitute to replace what they do, in volume and quality. In my work, you will find blossoms native to different regions of the world. Anyone who plants flowers native to one’s area, even in a pot on a balcony or in a window box, helps the pollinators to sustain their work. Blossoms truly are perfect and ephemeral expressions of Nature’s miracles.
What amazing forms of flower power.
Born in Singapore to Dutch parents, I grew up in the Netherlands and moved to the United States at the age of twenty. Ever since Kindergarten I’ve been drawn to the beauty of blossoms, first in meadows, later on flowering plants and trees. While in college, I worked in the retail division of the Laura Ashley company. I was attracted to the company for its floral patterns on fabric and for aspects of its European culture. During this time and after graduating from art school with a major in Design and Marketing, I always engaged in some form of creative expression. A few years ago I finally started pursuing a lifelong dream of becoming a painter on a full time basis. This was after years of being a gardener and a teacher and after my sons had left to go to college. I have taken classes in oil painting but I am mostly self-taught in this medium. Currently I share studio space with several other independent artists at my home in the Atlanta area in the United States.
My inspiration comes from the natural world, initially my own garden, botanical gardens and travel. At this time my focus is mostly on native flowers, many still from the garden but also natives specific to other regions. Through my paintings of these blossoms I hope to bring cheer and hope to contribute to raising awareness about their importance in our world’s ecological health.