This collection of paintings emerged a few short years ago when I purchased the most exquisite bouquet of sanguine peonies. While the idea of a pink bouquet is not new, these glorious and bloomy specimens seized me, captured my imagination. It took hours to immortalize my bouquet in a digital archive; opportunities dissolve as the petals fade. An opportunity to exhibit presented itself when I found a lovely gallery in 2019 that suited my needs; I began to plan my exhibition.
I contemplated how to bring these lavish objects to life as an idea or notion. But things rarely occur as we expect and within a brief measure of time in 2020 everything we understood was turned upside down. The show was postponed a year, but the direction was clear and the idea crystallized in a heartbeat... because of it.
The central theme and title of this collection “Beauty for Ashes” was based on Isaiah 61:3 “...to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”. Rather than grumble about circumstances I created; to paint is a joy. The peonies and the colour pink provided the visual thread that unified the collection idea.
Most important, I wanted the works to be serene and healing; to be a sort of respite. For this reason I used a variety of pinks... tints, tones and shadows. Hues were mixed to provide subtly nuanced tints and tones and create fluidity within each piece. This was also intended to connect pieces within the body of work, in a quiet but seductive way. It had to flow, to be simple. Using just one genus of peony, but bunches and bunches of them, provided that. That idea, while appearing simple, was made up of very complex sub-ideas with beautiful shapes, impressions, values, movement and emotion.
An artist can take years to prepare a cohesive visual story. Now, on to the next phase, there’s a loose, more abstract feeling for the evolution of this concept. The two most recent artworks were painted over the past few months with this in mind; my creative plan for 2023 will expand on this idea.