In the summer I enjoy painting outdoors, but in the winter I paint from photographs that I’ve taken during my travels. I travel to California often and I started taking pictures of bird of paradise flowers on one of my trips to Los Angeles. The following Spring I started painting from those photographs.
The Bird of Paradise Flower series was my first body of work based on the study of a single subject matter. Although the first one I painted was very simple, the more paintings I created, the more details I explored. I also found myself experimenting with backgrounds and color choices. In the first part of the series I completed 9 bird of paradise flower paintings. Then I had other ideas percolating in my head and I moved onto other projects.
The following winter I had some issues in my studio including flooding (don’t worry, nothing was ruined). I took this as an opportunity to move into a shared studio space with other artists. I had been working on my own for a long time, so it was nice to be surrounded by creatives. However, the artist side of my brain didn’t seem to agree with the social part of it.
For the first month I found myself making less than interesting work. I experimented with a few subject matters, but everything seemed completely out of my style. Even the flower paintings I made were not up to par with my other flower paintings. I was creatively lost. I was having a hard time connecting to my work in this new space.
In my despair I printed out the pictures I had taken of the bird of paradise flowers in Los Angeles. I was hesitant to start. What if I had forgotten how to paint these majestic flowers? What if they didn’t look like the ones I had previously made?
However, I did what I usually do. I pushed my fears aside for the love of painting. I slowly started to feel myself sink into my happy place. My art companions were amazed at what I was creating. This was working. I wasn’t trying to create something unique or meaningful. I was simply creating a subject that speaks to me with colors that I love. I had shut out everything else around me and created something beautiful. The painting was A Bright Soul. I was creating something familiar but in a new way. It gave me the momentum to make paintings that I loved again.
“Radiant Plenitude” is my collection of bright and bold paintings currently hanging at the Ocean City Arts Center. Among the paintings in the collection is the Bird of Paradise Flower series. Each piece and each body of work carries its own significance. When I look at the Bird of Paradise Flower paintings I’m reminded of courage, comfort and the happiness they bring.