Flower of the week: Arum Lily
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.
We have a large Frangipani tree in our front garden and you always know that Summer is well and truly here when these beautiful flowers start blooming to make you feel like you could possibly be living in a tropical region of the world. Their proper scientific name is Plumeria and these flowering shrubs are native to Central America, Mexico, The Caribbean and South America. They can be grown in any tropical or sub tropical region. The common name Frangipani comes from the sixteenth Century when an Italian Marquee invented a Plumeria scented perfume and named it "Frangipani". The flowers are most fragrant at night to lure moths to pollinate them.
Frangipani flowers are popular in Pacific Island nations and in Polynesian cultures for making leis. Also the flower can be worn by women to indicate their marital status.
My paintings of the Frangipani flowers were all painted quite a few years ago now. They are one of my favourite flowers, so I really enjoyed painting their simple form . The macro style Frangipani on the left was painted for a friend's birthday present and the other two originals sold very quickly, as these are very well known and popular flowers. They are all available for sale as prints, just click on the pictures and it will take you to the link.
Below is Georgia O'Keeffe's "Hibiscus and Plumeria" 1930 painting. This was the only painting of Frangipani that I could find of hers.
Flower of the Week - Hibiscus
Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plant with several hundred species. The flowers are large and trumpet shaped with five or more petals and colours ranging from white to pink, red, orange, purple or yellow. Hibiscus are native to warm temperate, sub tropical or tropical regions of the world. They are the national flower of South Korea, Malaysia, Haiti and the state flower of Hawaii. Hibiscus are traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls in their ears - left ear if you're married or right ear for singles.
Hibiscus are one of my favourite Summer flowers. We have a plant in our backyard that produces huge crimson red coloured Hibiscus flowers every year around Summer. They are just so beautiful and dramatic - you can't help but notice them when they are in bloom. The Orange hibiscus painting on the left was one of my earlier paintings and really inspired my love of painting tropical flowers for the large petals where the colours can be blended in various effects. The Red Hibiscus painting in the middle is one of my favourite paintings for the way I was able to capture the light and translucency of the petals. The blue and purple highlights also worked very well to contrast with the orange and red. The small Hibiscus painting on the right was a bit of an experiment to see if I could capture the essence of the flower in a very quick painting style.
Below are three paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe of Hibiscus flowers painted around 1939. I like the one on the left the best. I actually think watercolour is a better medium for these flowers, as you can use the effects to create a lot of interest in the petals with this medium, whereas the oil or acrylic paintings don't really bring out the dramatic nature of the flower as well.
Flower of the Week: Daffodils
Narcissus is the genus name of this hardy bulb Spring flowering plant. Common names include Daffodil and Jonquil. Narcissus flowers are brightly coloured, generally yellow or white and consist of six petal like tepals surrounding a trumpet shaped corona structure.
These flowers are native to meadows and woods in South Western Europe and North Africa. They are popular symbols of Spring in many countries.
Above are two small A5 sized paintings I did recently of Daffodils in a quick, fluid style, trying to capture the colours and essence of the flower. I think the simple structure of the petals lends itself to a more simple and fluid rendition of the flower. These are both available in larger sized prints here and here.
Below is a painting titled Jonquils #3 by Georgia O'Keeffe. She has chosen to paint a bunch of the Narcissus flowers showing their pale yellow colouring. Her picture is more detailed than mine and I like the way she has used the green / blue colour for the tonal component.
Flower of the week: Tulips
The Floriade festival in Canberra (Australia) has just come to an end this past weekend, having showcased a huge variety of Tulips, these colourful bulb flowers that bloom during September / October Spring season in Australia. Last year I was fortunate to travel to Canberra for this fantastic festival and took hundreds of photos for reference photos for future paintings. I'm drawn to the simplicity of the petal shapes and the dramatic beauty of a field full of tulips, such as in the middle photo above.
Tulips are a Spring blooming perennial bulbous plant with showy flowers. Most tulips produce only one flower per stem with petals usually cup or star shaped, with three petals and three tepals to a stem. Tulips come in a variety of colours except blue.
On the left (above) is my painting of orange coloured tulips that I did probably almost ten years ago. It's one of my older paintings, so it's high time I pay some more recent attention to this beautiful colourful flower...
Below are two paintings of tulips by one of my favourite artists Georgia O'Keeffe. One (left) is a close focus rendition of the centre of the flower (Pink Tulip 1926) and one shows the more classic tulip shape (Pink and Yellow Tulips 1925).
Flower of the week - Camellia
The Camellia is also a late Winter / early Spring flower that has been blooming all over Sydney in recent weeks. It's actually native to Eastern and Southern Asia. Camellias are shrubs or small trees with thick, glossy leaves and the flowers are usually large and colourful. Colours range mainly from white to pink and red, as can ben seen in the photo on the right.
On the left is my macro style painting of a Camellia. I was trying to capture the intricate petal shapes in a close up form to show the pattern and abstraction that nature can present.
The painting in the middle is a darker pink Camellia showing the glossy, waxy leaves of the foliage against the bright, dark pink petals. This painting has been a popular print on Fine Art America.
Below are two Camellia paintings by Georgia O'Keeffe. They are also close up style renditions of pink and white Camellias. The dark green colour of the glossy leaves on her white Camellia painting are actually closer to the proper colour than my leaf colour... I didn't analyse the colour correctly and it should be darker, not so yellowish !...
Spring Flowers - Magnolia
Today I thought I would start a "flower of the week" series to celebrate some beautiful seasonal blooms. As the Spring weather is warming up Sydney at the moment, I've noticed the striking Magnolia trees coming into bloom around the streets where I live, so here is the perfect Spring flower to start the series off.
The Magnolia genus has about 210 flowering plant species and is named after a French botanist Pierre Magnol. This flower is native to Asia as well as North, Central and South America and the West Indies. The colours range from pinkish white to purplish white. These beautiful flowers bloom from late Winter to early Spring.
The top two paintings above are my paintings of Magnolia flowers. The one on the left (2005) tries to capture the purplish colour and the one on the right (2014) is a minimalist free form depiction of the pale pink type of Magnolia with distinctive petal formation - similar to the photo on the right.
Below on the left is another photo showing the distinctive petal shape and colour of the Magnolia. The painting on the right is by Georgia O'Keeffe (1932) "The White Flower" showing her depiction of the Magnolia flower.
Sacha Grossel is a practising Visual Artist from Australia.