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Fabulously Feminine Fritillaria

Perhaps it’s an optimistic antidote to the long dark winters here in Scotland, but my studio has been filled with the joy of Spring colours and Scottish spring flowers. It’s as though my soul grew weary of waiting for winter to end so I decided to get to work ‘creating’ Spring early.

I’ve been working with wild roses, primroses and irises which all feel so light and feminine – perhaps this symbolises an ushering in of ‘gentler’ times. Let us hope.

March is that time of year when the earth feels like it wakes from its long winter sleep. Granted, in Scotland, it feels like Spring hits the snooze button for a few weeks after its initial burst of activity in the form of snowdrops and crocuses – but it’s a welcome tease no less.

The main star of the springtime flower fest, however, has to be – the gorgeous – the fabulous –Fritillaria. I have always adored these flowers as they exude ‘exotic’. I felt inspired to team them with this year’s colour to be seen in – vivid magenta – and then it wasn’t long before the pattern emerged.

You can’t live in Scotland, never mind whether you are a student (or teacher) of Art, without having a close relationship and appreciation of Charles Rennie McIntosh. Our household was no different, so it follows, some of my earliest memories are of going to Glasgow with my mum and siblings to wander through the School of Art. While McIntosh was more well-known for his architectural design, he did have a love of nature, landscapes, and flowers too.  

While I was doing my own painting, I remembered his stylised watercolour, titled ‘Fritillaria’ which really illustrates his fondness for the flower, and his love of the geometric pattern really shines through. I can’t help feeling there is a starkness to the watercolour that gives it more of a ‘botanic’ study vibe – perhaps he was more interested in the ‘pattern’ or the geometry of nature he could see within, rather than the emotive complexities. My own explorations seem to reveal fragility, humility and gentle warmth. There’s a sombre respect here in the flower’s nodding head which is why I thought bringing in some other flowers as a backdrop might create some balance and give the Fritillaria some new perspective – a new lease on life.

All that said, each of these spring flowers deserves the spotlight, so I’ll just continue to play with the patterns and colours and see where they go. I think that’s one of the things to remember in any creative endeavour. Allow yourself time to play. We can start off with an idea – but playing with it really allows us to see how far we can take it.

On that note, time to get back to conjuring up Spring with sheer will power and a little creativity. I’ll keep you posted on what I decide to do with Fabulous Fritillaria and her wild Scottish friends.

Until next time…

“Art is the Flower. Life is the Green Leaf. Let every artist strive to make his flower a beautiful living thing, something that will convince the world that there may be, there are, things more precious more beautiful — more lasting than life itself.”

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