Monday, 6 June 2011

Flowers as inspiration

This morning I received my copy of the new book by Twelve by Twelve Twelve by Twelve: The International Art Quilt Challenge which one of my fellow Contemporary Quilt group members recommended last week.  It is every bit as good as she said and very well designed.  Twelve by Twelve is a  blog based group who do group challenges of quilts that are 12 inches square.  I already knew quite a bit about them but it is always good to have a book to study rather than just using the Internet to see images.  As I have been taking my camera on a few short walks round here this week I was particularly struck by a comment in the first chapter where the topic was 'Dandelion'.  Diane Perin Hock says that Jane Sassaman, teaching a workshop, would ask her 'What do you want to say about that flower?'  This has made me think about some of my photos in a different way.
First, foxgloves.  I have been photographing these off and on for years but it is often difficult because it is almost always windy down here.

This morning I walked up the valley that starts a few hundred yards from here.  The foxgloves were magnificent and  there was lots of red campion plus plenty of white cow parsley.

The comment made me consider what it is that is so attractive about foxgloves apart from the general effect of drifts of them.  I decided it is the detailed mottling inside the petals and the bell like shape of the ends of the petals.

I need to get out the drawing tools!
A couple of days ago I walked up to a nearby small reservoir.  It has wild rhododendrons i.e. they are all purple as opposed to the different colours of cultivated varieties.

 In fact they are a big problem here as they 'get away' and often cause wildfires so there have been a lot of clearance programmes over the last ten years or so.  This one was growing in a an uncontrolled hedgerow beside the reservoir.  When I uploaded it I realised that although it is not very sharp it is probably the sort of photo I can play with in Photoshop.  Also the centre of the flower is sharp and detailed and the petals quite wispy.  I am sure there is some artistic message there!
The reservoir also has a good display of wild waterlilies at this time of the year.

They remind me of the ones I saw in Monet's garden last year.
I have also had the camera out in the garden now that the plants are beginning to bloom.  I am not a good designer of gardens - I just know what I like - but this year I decided to go for hot colours in our small herbaceous patch.  The patch is getting smaller as the shrubs grow but I know it will be easier to maintain in future so I am not panicking.  Apart from the self-sown nasturtiums which I am having to pull out so that they do not strangle the plants they hide, we have some rather nice gazanias this year.  I am sure they are the sort of flower of which I should be asking: What do you want to be saying about that flower?'

So now I just need to think about how I might use some of these images.

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