Monday, March 02, 2009

The Floral Period

Do you think Picasso ever imagined his life’s work would eventually be compiled into chapters like his Blue Period or his Cubist Period?

I think many artists unintentionally go through these “periods” or phases of interest and development in their work. Looking back, I myself have had an African Period (1990-95), a Pagan/Feminist/Surrealist Period (1996-2006), and currently, the Floral Period (2006-to date).

What caused such a drastic change in my art/subject matter from the provocative to the more traditional? The changes in the body of an artist’s work are often affected by age, emotion, environment and life circumstance. Art is Life. In my situation, I felt as though the flowers chose me, but perhaps it was largely influenced by the circumstances of moving, building the house, planting the meadow and motherhood. The flowers are calm and pretty and painting them has provided me with the much needed moments peace and tranquility in what is otherwise a loud crazy life as the mother of a Wild Monkey Child. The floral paintings acceptance, popularity and saleability hasn’t exactly hurt my continued interest in them either. In college I had imagined myself pursuing more thought provoking, cutting edge subject matter with my art. But as time passed I’ve become a wife and mother, living in the country, leading a much more domestic life; those life changes tend to modify one’s perspective. Occasionally I do long for my former angst, but for now, I am content painting the florals. (However, I do have a “long term project” in the works that may or may not evolve into my next art historical period, but that remains to be seen.)

From 2006 to date, the “Floral Period” can be summed into 6 floral series consisting of over 153 paintings:

FLORAL GALLERY
DECORATIVE BOTANICALS
TAPESTRY GALLERY
NIGHT GARDEN GALLERY
THE GARDEN_ROOM GALLERY
THE POPPY GALLERY
TEXTURED POPPIES

Side Note: For the sake of accuracy, I should note that 45 non floral paintings (12 Abstract Spirals
, 14 Exalted Beauties, 4 Cancer, 5 Duplicity, 10 Textured Beauties) were also completed during what I’m entitling the “Floral Period” as well as an additional 2,957 unique, one of a kind, art jewelry sculptures otherwise known as the Exalted Beauty Medallions. Perhaps this should also be referred to as “The Medallion Period”? :)

How does one know if their current period has ended and the work has reached its final plateau? Inside, I think you just know. If one’s life remains the same, then most likely the work remains the same, and unfortunately such consistency can lead to complacency and creative stagnancy. For example, if you feel you’ve developed a recognizable art gimmick or an “art style”, then you’ve probably “jumped the shark”. Or perhaps you’ve just lost your enthusiasm for your previous obsession and need to move on to regain interest in your craft. However, if you’re still feeling a real passion for what you’re doing, like I am with the florals, then see it through. Don’t change for the sake of changing or because others long for the type of work you created during another period. Answer only to your own passion. There will be fans for your new work, even when you’ve perhaps disappointed the fans interested in your previous works. Be true to who you are at this moment. The reality is that the most conspicuous evolutions in one’s art are usually caused by negative and unforeseen circumstances such as war or other severe forms of emotional upheaval (such as divorce, illness, injury or a loved one’s death). These are not the circumstances most would seek for the sake of removing oneself from an artistic rut. So, if you feel you need to move onto your next art historical period, I recommend moving, changing your studio, taking a sabbatical in Tahiti or simply challenging oneself to step out of ones comfort zone and seek fresh sources of inspiration, like THESE
or THESE.

I hadn’t really meant to go off on this whole “Floral Period” tangent; it’s just something I’ve been thinking a lot about while I’ve been painting (for obvious reasons). Anyway, I just finished another set of Garden Room Squares and will be presenting those next! Stay tuned!

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