Cornflowers and the Spaces in Between


When I started painting three years ago, I started to see the world differently. Drawing and painting helped me see not just the entirety, but the elements. I noticed more colours in the sky. I saw light and perceived wind as it moved through clouds. When I looked at a flower, I no longer registered one colour but many hues. This enhanced vision makes the world a more interesting and dynamic place.

Earlier this week, I decided to join a live painting event. The artist instructor, Jesse Robertson, has a wonderful rendition of Cornflower Fields posted on her site. While I managed to follow along through the composition of the background, I fell behind with the flowers. The resulting blue blobs didn’t much resemble the fanciful cornflowers Jesse had created.

The following night. I decided to take inspiration from my own garden and rework the blooms. I picked a cornflower and placed it in a vase. Looking from the top, I noticed the shapes of the petals and the deeper hues on the edges. I saw the dark centre and the black and white in the pistil and stamen. Once I took the time to add these new dimensions to the flowers, I was much more pleased with the results of my painting.

The next day as I ventured into the garden with the dog, I looked carefully at the entire cornflower plant. I realized that I had missed additional elements. I noticed how miniature eight-pointed fluted blooms come together in the center to form each flower. Each mini-bloom narrows at the base allowing for small spaces in between. When I took a photo and enlarged it, I could see even more exquisite forms. I thought of how much better my work could be if I captured even some of this.

As I continue to work from home, my office space, once reserved for dreaming and creating, has changed. Career, academic and home life spill over into each other. I feel the need to recapture more small spaces in between, to breathe, to dream, to reflect. If I want my work to be great, I need to take the time not only to look, but to see.

I haven’t created a new version of cornflower fields yet. I am certain the curled blooms with small spaces in between will make it more wonderful when I do. I hope you are finding spaces too.



  1. Yes! Love the movie about her life and her art. Her cottage and much of her work is housed in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. Visited the collection in summer 2018.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s