Saturday, June 6, 2020

100 Daffodils, Continued! **

Metaphors for Being? Consider the Daffodil
10 & 11
Acrylic + 4x12

In these trying and stressful times, sheltered in place, isolated, and yet protesting virtually or in reality, we need to balance our tensions! 

We need patches of peace, way stations of quiet, escape mechanisms...And there are many: music, books, films, puzzles, games...We need them all to meet the varieties of stress we face and the differences in individuals, but can a simple flower suffice?
12 & 13
Acrylic +  4x12
One of the recent surprises of our sheltering in place has been the rush on gardening! Garden centers and suppliers have been selling out, even with the more complicated "curbside service." There is something basic in flowers, plants. Greenery soothes, forest bathing is being prescribed when possible, or just more walking with social distancing. Not so new to the scene, flowers and potted plants have an expected, even honored place in many ceremonies...Can you imagine funerals, weddings, or even church services without  flowers? Stuck for a good gift idea for a sick or grieving friend, flowers are an easy and welcome answer. 

What is it about flowers? 

My contention is that THEY are US! Unannounced they have become quiet metaphors for our being! and our living!

Acrylic +   5x7

Consider the daffodil.. my favorite Spring flower (why else would I choose to paint 100?)
They are brave little souls that poke through leaf mold and grow beneath the snow, lifting their tips tall and strong to reach the sun. Rooted in the ground, with the stored energy in their bulb pushing them upward, in their own time their buds break through the protective membranes that cover the leaf tips/developing flowers. Slowly they unfurl, becoming the flowers they are meant to be! How many shapes? How many colors and sizes? All the time standing tall, reaching for the heavens...

Detail from # 9
 Bees and pollen do their job, and maybe the gardener "deadheads" them, as they slip into old age with their greens, yellowing, feeding the bulb and drying up...dormant until the next year. A perfect cycle of life, cycle of an idea, cycle of a stage they are going through..they grow, flourish, and feed the next round...year after year, eventually multiplying into patches, onto hillsides, even filling groves.  
Acrylic+  4 x 12

The daffodil is only one example of what is flourishing out there, in all weather, all environments, part of our world to admire, and the admiration doesn't cost a penny. The flower, plant , whatever, could be in our garden, but it could be anywhere, and gives joy to whoever chooses to appreciate it in all its complexities...Consider the daffodil...
or any other plant, if only for a few breaths, and let it nourish your soul. 

**100 Daffodil Project,  87 to go!

Tuesday, June 2, 2020


#1  Acrylic  4x12


"Never an ill wind that didn't blow someone some good," so spoke my grandmother, quoting I don't know who, but true. So many of us, faced with the pandemic shelter in place, set intentions of particular projects we could use that extra time to complete. Is there an artist out there who doesn't wish for more studio time?  Not me. At workshops, one of the discussion topics that inadvertently comes up is "How can I make more time for art?"
Indeed, pandemic project on a silver platter. 

Challenge Begun:  The first five of 100!
In the blahs of February (see previous blog) I enjoyed painting Spring Profusion, and by the time the pandemic and it's forced isolation was in place, I was ready to happily continue in the studio, painting flowers. 

#5 Acrylic  4x12
Advice from one of my favorite art instructors comes to mind when I think of mentors. Doug Dawson, nationally known artist, told us that when he was getting started, he was told that he should paint 1000 paintings, which is overwhelming, especially for beginners who want to do everything yesterday....and then, shaking his head with a smile creeping into his voice, Doug added, "They never told us they could be small paintings!"
But I get it! "Necessity is the mother of invention," an apt quote for the art world. Repetition, repetition, repetition is boring! Our eyes and minds like variety, so doing a series pushes us into further creativity. One subject but 100 versions moves us into new textures, new colors, new paints, and exploring form and composition. And small pushes us further faster

It was early April, daffodils were bravely pushing through leaf mold and snow, here in NH, and I had planted several hundred bulbs, collections of early to late varieties with all the variations horticulturists have come up with over the years. That gave me a good start towards 100, though I did decide I'd count individual daffodils rather than individual paintings. 

SOOO,  these are the first five.  
#2,3,4 Acrylic +   8x10
Small paintings, Thank you very much Doug Dawson! #1 and #5 were only 4 x 12 inches, and #2,3,4 grouped in one painting, was an 8x10.
Only a few of the many varieties in my garden, Thank you White Flower Farm and Van Engelen Bulbs (Van Engelen calls them narcissi). 

Backgrounds are McEvoy inventions, and I don't claim to be a realist! Painting the spirit is often more important than painting the reality!

Discovery on these paintings: If you look very closely at flower petals, some of them actually glisten a faint spark of iridescence, but how put that on canvas?  From playing around with Golden's acrylic offerings I had discovered a paint referred to as "interference," and another similar called pearl. Spread thinly on the petals it does give the illusion of iridescence, and shifting light or standing at different places to view the painting gives out that subtle and not so subtle hint, unfortunately difficult to capture with a camera (at least if I'm the one pushing the button.)

See galaxy Blog from 2017 and/or follow me on Instagram  Barbara McEvoy Artist to see other times I play with the metallic and "interference" paints by Golden and other unique options that are out there if you browse the art supply stores!

Photo taken at slant to capture the
"glisten effect" of interference paint.
Pearl, green and violet used here.

Have at it! 

Ninety-five daffodils to go!