It all started last year down on the farm with Ann Marie Gardner and her Gucci dress. Those hand-drawn (looking) flowers made me a little itchy to start messing with my walls again. I had wanted to paint the walls of my dining room, but did not want to repeat the mural I’d done before. It wasn’t until this flaxen-haired milkmaid appeared in her $2000 frock and Hunter boots that I knew what I wanted.
The flowers on the dress reminded me of the happy blooms of Paule Marrot. I liked the idea of the flowers feeling more like illustration than representation. Still, I turned it over for a while before I settled on a plan. I wanted to paint flowers on my dining room walls and I thought I would paint them in white silhouette as I had before, but I did not want to do what I’d done before. Because, well, I’d done that. It was time for something new.
For several years I’d wanted to paint a room with flowers so big that it made you feel as if you were in the midst of a flower bed. I didn’t think I could quite pull off my fantasy, but I knew that I would, at least, enjoy working in that scale.
I began as I had before. I gathered a few tools and I practiced.
This is the second time I’ve shown one of my tests of surface and brush. I know you’re thinking, “She should have stopped right there.” But the point of the practice is not to get it exactly right. Rather, I just try and get a feeling for the movement that the shape will require. Once I have that, it doesn’t matter so much what the poster board-with-the-book-report-on-the-back (saved for just such an occasion) looks like. Once my hand knows what my eye wants, it’s time to begin.
More, likely tomorrow. But, you know how things go around here. No, really, I’m aiming for tomorrow.
Image, top, Harper’s Bazaar, date unknown, photography Christopher Sturman. The image of Marrot wreath is from Natural Curiosities. It is no longer on their site, but many other charming pieces are. You can find them here.