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.



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