Missing flowers today, caught in the gaping maw of August here. The ravage heat wastes any precious bloom this time of year. Water is just a wish to save all but desert plants from crusty brown demise.
I think of leaving to a lushlovely, rainy place when the sun takes permanent throne. When 100 degrees is ho-hum and only 50 or more days of white-hot 100°+ leaves the weather person dry mouthed and sweating for synonyms for hot. Or hotter. Or hottest. But the clouds hinted at rain this weekend, some wayward drops sprinkled. Plash. A soft pliff here and there. Smell of overheated earth. This painting by Lily Martine Baxter captures the moment.
Where between the sun and the rain, blossoms a fresh cluster of color. The heavens cooled briefly and then the color springs and drizzles. Lavender rivulets and saffron trickles. A color front – precipitation blooming. Open-mouthed to catch a drop or perhaps a petal.
Look dear, the dog’s name is Bonnard. What a darling puppy! Is it a poodle?
(If paintings could speak. . .)
No, no that’s the artist’s name. French, impressionist, part of the Nabis group. . .
And don’t you love her gingham dress. What a cheery polka dot scarf.
Yes the dress is interesting for its sheer flatness, the way it starts a dialog of pattern that circles around the painting. . .
And her sister’s curly hair. Lord, I’ve spent hours ironing my sister’s kinky hair to get it straight. Back before they had flat irons that is. We actually used an iron.
Mmmhmm. See how her curly hair pulls out the whorl of the dog’s coat, similar colors even, and then talks to the shaggy flowers and rattan chair at the left. Yellow playing at the perimeter of the painting.
And the men, just setting there like bumps on a log, watching while the women help the poor puppy, probably has something in its paw. Well, that’s just like a man.
Wait… the contrast of yellows on blue, the patterns and the shifting perspective, the delightful textures, the floating narrative. . .
Maybe I can buy a card for my niece for her birthday, do you think they have this puppy on a card? She loves dogs.
Probably in the gift shop, next to the needless mousepads.
Oh Patty, just look over there, at that wretched yellow Gauguin! It is Gauguin isn’t ? I so dislike him.
I like the dog too. Probably a terrier. . .
Are you feeling the vibrations of these patterns like I am? The rhythmic movement of color and form. The beat, beat, beat of the lines behind the flower (almost like a music clef). The larger forms of the leaves, tightening into the semicircle petals circling around, around, around, until. . . Boom! A floral fireworks explosion. Kaleidoscope of joy. Total delight.
Does it feel vibrant, warm and tropical? If it does, you are not far off the mark. This large-scale work is painted by Brazilian artist, Beatriz Milhazes who is internationally acclaimed now, though it wasn’t so in the beginning. She is part of the Pattern and Decoration art movement which was dismissed previously by the art community as “purely decorative.” But they couldn’t suppress their attraction for long and have since gobbled up her painting in museums and galleries everywhere.
This painting is one of a recent series of four seasons. I picked it because we are closing in on springtime, so let’s celebrate! And I wanted to talk about the power of repetition in life. The four seasons. Cycles that move us back and forth across time. This powerful flower steadied on a backdrop of repeating lines that are solid, bracing. I often decry boring Repetition – an endless rotation of days, nights, weekends, seasons. But aren’t they the foundation lines that give us the ability to appreciate the extraordinary. Or to create it.
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