Monday, July 30, 2007

Wildflowers - why I love them so...

Wildflowers and Dandelions 12"x9" oil on linen
private collection

Most people dismiss the simple beauty of a wildflower. But if you look closely, you'll discover a world of intricate detail, splendor, and magic in a bouquet of these flowers. Every day I try to capture this essence in my paintings, and I approach this concept in two ways. First, I believe painting small flowers on a large scale amplifies their quiet beauty. Second, I have found the practice of placing wildflowers in a lovely antique vase elevates the everyday to a sophisticated level of elegance.

The artists I admire most are Van Gogh and Sargent for their brushstrokes, Janet Fish for her perseverance, and the California Impressionists for their palette.

I prefer to paint in oil on a fine-grade Belgium linen, because its tight weave provides a consistent surface yet is strong enough to sustain reworking with a palette knife. The durability of oil on linen also guarantees my paintings will endure for centuries, which is important to me and my collectors.

The inspiration for my paintings comes from my garden, where I grow a wide variety of wildflowers. Sometimes my neighbors and friends also offer flowers from their gardens. I like to paint from live models, so my compositions are determined by the blooming schedules of peonies, dandelions, poppies, pussy willows, lilies, and violets, among others. I stretch my own canvases, framing a selection of my paintings in hand-carved frames. After I have arranged a still life, I sketch the basics of the composition in pencil directly on the canvas. I then apply paint where I believe the focus of the composition lies and build the painting outward from that point, working the entire canvas one layer of paint at a time. A painting can take weeks to complete, depending upon the size of the canvas.

Painting wildflowers is not only my passion but also a part of my life path, urging me to appreciate the beauty of the simplest aspects of nature. I hope my paintings convey this same message to my collectors. If so, I would consider my life's work a success.


Laura Stamps said...

Speaking of wildflowers (and they are so wonderful!!), my morning glories are blooming. They have been bushy all summer but just started to bloom last week. I haven't planted morning glories since I was a kid, and I had read they don't bloom until the end of August. But maybe here in South Carolina they start blooming in late July. I planted white and blue ones this year, and they are very pretty. Pure happiness on the vine! :)

Lisa Palombo said...

ahhhh!... morning glories. You must be in wildflower heaven. There is nothing like that blue color. I only wish my climate (New Jersey) had a longer bloom time. Enjoy!!

Laura Stamps said...

Thanks! Well, everything is much better now that the Japanese beetles have left for the year. This year was the worst ever, and they ate EVERYTHING...morning glories, azaleas, roses, you name it! I had to cut my roses back almost to the ground. There was nothing left of them after the beetles chewed their way through. And the bags didn't work this year either. Fortunately, they are gone, and the roses are coming back gloriously.

In fact I have a wild rose that looks just like a pink dogwood when it blooms. I started a new bush from a cutting last year, and think I will root another cutting this year. It is sooo pretty.

Lisa Palombo said...

Your garden sounds lovely. I have trouble with the deer in our area. But still, I am able to grow black eyed susans, daisies, petunias, holly hocks and this year I found climbing wild daisy plants (in yellow and orange). I love them! They really took off and the blooms love the sun.

Laura Stamps said...

Deer...yikes! My backyard blends into a state forest, and we have herds of deer coming out at night using our street as a buffet table (grin). One neighbor of mine ripped out all his shrubs earlier this year, because they had been chewed down to the ground by deer. I used to have trouble with them eating my roses and gerber daisies. And they eat everything in my other neighbor's yard, including her azaleas. But I found an organic spray for deer at Lowes that worked really well (chili pepper, egg yolks, yuck). Barking dogs work best, one of my neighbors has a big dog that barks all the time, and that works really well. I also found that the dishsoap bug spray I use now works better than the deer repellent. Even deer don't like the taste of soap in their mouths, I guess! (lol)

Other than that, I have a opossum family (mommy, daddy, and two babies) who come up on the porch with two very large raccoons to eat with my feral cat colony every night. I don't mind them at all, in fact I am thrilled to see them. The opossums and cats can be really messy. But the raccoons eat everything! When they have finished all the food left in the bowls, they go along the entire porch using their sharp claws to dig out bits dry cat food wedged in there (and whatever mess the others have made) from between the floor boards. Because of these critters I wake up every morning to a sparkling clean porch now. They're the only ones who help me clean up messes...what's not to like!! :)

Steve Savage "King of the Beasts" said...

Ms. Palombo

I have had the privilege of visiting your website. Yours is, indeed, a singular talent that will one day, I am certain, place you among history's greatest still life impressionists. Of all the Creator's expressions, the unsurpassable elegance and indefinable beauty of wildflowers are what truly evokes and captures the spirit within us. It is quite evident from your oeuvre that the One who brought them into being, stood beside you in your garden, guiding you as to which of these divine images should be placed upon that most perfect of all mediums, Belgium Linen, so that in the centuries to come, all will know that it was you who were chosen to present a visual representation of God's love for us.

Steve Savage
"King of the Beasts"

Lisa Palombo said...

Mr. Savage,

Thank you so much for your generous comments about my floral paintings. I feel very blessed to have my life's work noticed and appreciated by people like yourself, who also treasure our planet's little beauties, wildflowers, as you do. I,myself find them an endless source of joy and creative inspiration.