Recently, my oldest son asked me if I’d seen the Easter bunny. I said, “Not recently, but last time we spoke, he hadn’t had his second cup of coffee so he was, well, a bit crabby.”
“Oh, kinda sounds like you, mom,” he sighed.
We find ourselves wandering these unfamiliar streets sometimes, befuddled at the intersection of imagination and reality. Not really sure what to say, yet understanding vaguely that imagination must be nurtured. Hearing the Einstein eyes of this rabbit whisper, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” What to say to be truthfully imaginative? Or imaginatively truthful?
Just like in these Alexandra Eldridge paintings. “To do” lists fly helter-skelter and a too helpful butterfly unravels the coiled clothesline of reasonableness, now a scattered string of lost thoughts. Spilled coffee drips languidly down the right side of the canvas. Mr. E. Bunny at 6:15 AM.
Perhaps we could get some advice from this little charmer below, perched atop a yellow easter egg-shaped hill. Stones sprinkling down from the clouds. Fragments of words, thoughts getting lost in the downpour. Couldn’t Mr. Bunny could spring off the hill anytime he chose, to avoid the pelting? Perhaps he is frozen. An instinctual, native response to danger. The feeling I get when my kids ask me if I’ve seen the Easter bunny.
“Not lately honey, I mainly just email him.”
Last week we celebrated the return of the daffodils; this week I’m all about irises. I’ve noticed the ruffled puffs of white floating here and there around town and they reminded me of this beauty of van Gogh’s. A product of his Arles period, van Gogh painted the irises while battling mental instability, as a patient of the St. Remy asylum. Wandering through their spring gardens, these drew his eye and brush.
I’m so glad because if any flower deserves glory these do. However their usual rendering is pallidly romantic. These are ravenous irises, marching across the canvas. Their leaves like sworded tongues seem intent on devouring the cobalt blooms. The petals of the flowers in motion, waggle and chatter nervously back and forth.
The rigorous twist of the flowers is calmed by a horizontal three part structure, brown earth at bottom, green/blue irises middle, yellow field a top. An angled thrust of blue irises though the earth section keeps things interesting, by giving us the feeling that we have just come upon this scene. It’s not staged like past still life representations.
Waving a white flag, a fair iris stands in lone opposition to the fray. A message of peace perhaps. To savor tranquility, before the sun’s heat takes all.
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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