I had in my mind that I wanted to try to create something a bit more expressive with more freedom in my brushstrokes for my next painting. As I was looking online to see a more urban or expressive approach to painting flowers, I came across a wonderful artist called Cy Twombly.
Twombly was an American painter, born during the 20th Century and recently passed away in 2011. He spent most of his working life living in Italy and was interested mostly in abstract expressionism. His large scale works included freely hand scribbled text and were graffiti - like and urban in construction. I really liked the above work "The Rose" (2008) - a series of four large scale paintings - above is no. IV. I can really feel some emotion from the brushstrokes and dripping paint, like bleeding roses - very free and expressive.
I tried to channel this freedom of brushstroke and emotion in my watercolour painting Etoile de Holland - below left- which is the name of the rose I have painted. I also wanted a "bleeding" type quality to come through with the watercolours and I wanted a dark, kind of heartbreaking gothic style of emotion with the black and red colours used. I also used the opportunity to experiment with gum Arabic in parts - just to see what it would do.
I'm not sure of the final outcome - but it was fun to be a lot looser in my style and to try to paint my emotions on paper. I used photoshop to apply some effects for future prints - below right... I thought they turned out pretty well and I'll definitely use some in my print shop.
The scientific name for the Arum lily is Zantedeschia !! What a mouthful ! Native to South Africa, these lilies are actually not technically types of lilies, but are commonly known as Arum Lilies or Calla Lilies. These waxy flowers grow mostly in marshy areas and are very sturdy, hardy plants, able to survive in a variety of soils and habitats.
The Arums come in shades of white / cream and light pink whereas the Callas are mostly orange shades. These plants are actually regarded as weeds through much of the world.
Georgia O'Keeffe was most famous for using the Arum lily as a subject matter for many of her most famous paintings (see below). As the Arum lily is said to resemble the female genitalia, many artists have used this theme to represent female sexuality.
Another famous series of paintings using the Arum lily as the main motif is Diego Rivera's Flower vendor series painted in 1935 (above right).
My painting of the Arum Lily (above left, 2004) was heavily influenced by Georgia O'Keeffe's style. It is one of my earliest paintings and sold a few years ago. I was drawn to the vibrant colour of the foliage more than anything else.
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.