Sometimes it’s the tiniest things that grab my attention. It is not uncommon to find me in the yard or elsewhere, nose to the ground, butt in the air, searching for unusual things to paint. I always find something down there. Not all of it is inspiring or canvas worthy even if it seems so in that particular moment. This is also the zone where I have found some of the most stimulating ideas for painting.
I have always been drawn to all things purple, and often have the desire to explore this color and it’s variations again and again. One spring morning when the light was perfect, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the garden. Stimulating compositions were begging for my camera to capture them. The opportunities for unique inspiration were everywhere!
Nose to the Ground, Face to Face
As I turned from photographing some gorgeous lichen covered rocks, there he was; a tiny deep purple fellow glowing mightily in the morning sun. I remember having to kneel on the dewy, mulch covered ground with the camera only a couple of inches from his sweet little face. Barely noticing that my knees and elbows were being annoyed by prickly things, I photographed him from every manageable angle. Once the possibilities had been exhausted, it was time to move on with my day.
Love at Second Sight
The final photos that inspired the painting above, definitely raised my heartbeat as soon as I viewed them. This was during the 35mm film days when you had to wait until the roll was full and had been developed. I remember the moment that this little fellow showed up. There he was, in my stack of newly processed photos. It was love at second sight and he demanded to be portrayed in paint as soon as possible!
Honoring a Tradition
Both my grandmothers grew these little gems in their gardens and they hold a special place in my flower loving heart. Painting this flower might honor them in a small way and at the same time fulfill my ‘purple’ fix. These viola are called ‘Johnny Jump Ups” and have been included in quite a few paintings.
You may find me shooting copious photos from different angles in quest of the “Wow Factor”. I can often find a few moments to satisfy my quest for something special, no matter the weather and length of my task list. My nose to the ground position can be a bit comical at times but this ongoing search has expanded my mind as to the possibilities of what might constitute a great painting. Being receptive and curious about what nature will show me has resulted in some fantastic perspectives and nurtured my art evolution. I will keep my nose to the ground occasionally, with the expectation of finding many surprises going forward.
The more you are open to seeing, the more you will notice!