"Kate & Leopold" was probably my first early introduction to the Victorian Language of Flowers - Kate's brother is looking for flowers for a girl he likes, and shows an orange lily to Leopold. Leopold instantly says, "Not that one, it indicates hatred for the receiver!" A lot of orange flowers mean hatred, by the way. I've always loved the idea of a secret code made up of something as ubiquitous and inocuous as flowers. They're everywhere, and nobody notices them! But what if your friend understood it, and you could send them some Rhododendrons and Begonias to say "Beware"? Endless possibilities. Sometime during my Silhouette Period, I started adding flowers in (highly influenced by the wedding bouquets I was still painting). It was an easy leap to then think, "How could I use flowers in my portraits?"
This series of paintings sprang from there.
All my early flower paintings were focused on the thoughts and feelings of a young mother, as that was the stage of life I was in. My daughter had just been born, and all my heart was wrapped around her little finger.
"Loss of Self"
24x36" watercolor on canvas, unframed
If you're familiar with my Enneagram Collection, this one will look very familiar! This was the very first painting I did in this style, and it was an idea that just came into my head to try one day. I wanted to use the Language of Flowers to explain some of the experiences of being a new mother, and I chose to tackle the topic of 'losing identity' first.
The flower held in the center is a Cinquefoil, which means "Beloved Daughter". While the flowers on the outside are wilting and fading away, those in the center curl towards the Cinquefoil and bloom in its glow. The flowers that are principally wilting are Colchecum, which mean "My happiest days are past" - a lie that can be so easy to believe when you are frustrated and exhausted. Other flowers within the figure are as follows: Clematis: "Art" Everlasting Pea - "An Appointed Meeting" Mountain Pink - "Aspiring" Trumpet Flower - "Fame" Cardinal Flower - "Energy" Hyacinth - "Play" Fern - "Dreams"
This was also one of my first paintings where I experimented using watercolor paints straight on canvas - to surprising good results!
"Motherly Love" and "Fatherly Love"
16x20" watercolors on canvas, unframed
This pair were also some of the very first of my Language of Flowers paintings, probably painted right after "Loss of Self". They are based on photos of my husband and I holding our 1 week old daughter. She was so tiny, and so precious, and I wanted so much to be able to communicate the fullness of our hearts and arms. In "Motherly Love", the flowers are;
Coreopsis Arkana: "Love At First Sight" Primrose: "Early Love", "I Can't Live Without You" Milkvetch: "Your Presence Softens My Pains" White Violet, White Daisy: "Innocence" Cinquefoil: "Beloved Daughter" In "Fatherly Love", the flowers are;
Althea Frutex: "Consumed by Love" Indian Jasmine: "I Attach Myself To You" Primrose: "Early Youth", "I Can't Live Without You" Milkvetch: "Your Presence Softens My Pains" Viburnum: "I Die If Neglected" Lucern: "Life" Also watercolor painted on canvas, I love the softness yet vibrancy of these colors.
11x14" watercolor on paper, unframed
Ranunculus are such stunning, luxurious flowers, I knew I had to paint some - especially when I learned that they meant "I am Dazzled by Your Charms". When you are new to loving something, you spend a lot of time staring at it, entranced. Your new significant other, your baby, even a new piece of art or a hobby you've picked up. There are things that we hold so tenderly, and love so deeply. I love that with this painting, these flowers will never wilt, and that dazzling, entranced feeling can continue on.
16x20" watercolor on paper, unframed
"Wildflower Field" is a family portrait without the inclusion of any individual people or figures. It is my only painting like this so far! Each flower contains a meaning that is like a blessing upon your family and home: Mugwort: Happiness Southernwood: Banter Woodsorrel: Maternal Affection Queen Anne’s Lace: Sanctify Dwarf Sunflower: Gratitude Lavender: Serenity Succulents: Endurance, Timeless Love Larkspur: Lightness Wallflower: Fidelity in Adversity Dandelion: Happiness, Faithfulness Rush: Calmness Lily of the Valley: Return of Happiness Mullein: Happiness Stephanotis: Marital Bliss
The colors are bright, vibrant, and deep, with that little bit of chaos that every family has scattered in.
8x10" watercolor on paper, unframed
While my original intent for this painting was specific to birthing a child, I think that "Empowered"s message is for anyone who needs more strength as they go into their day. The flowers surrounding the arm are (bottom to top): Mistletoe: "I surmount all difficulties" Thyme: "Activity" Fennel: "Strength" Bay laurel tree: "Glory" Oregano: Birth I hope you've enjoyed the Flower Period paintings!