Occasionally I hear this sort of remark about realistic art, “It’s a vase of flowers that looks real…they could have just taken a photo of it.”
I could have taken a photo and framed it. But, I didn’t and I don’t. I do use photos as reference for artwork. But, each new piece is a journey; in selecting the image I want to create based on my vision, in preparation, in execution, etc.
Flowers are an incredible source of inspiration to many artists. Each bloom is a tiny universe unto itself, alive with color and depth. When I am recreating them on paper, I strive to add luminosity and clarity. And, I want the viewer to look deeper into this world I’ve discovered.
My dad was a big fan of my work. He used to carry photos of my drawings with him and tell people, “can you believe this is colored pencil?”. As I was working on this piece, “My father’s Light” he passed away of congestive heart failure. After the funeral was over and we came home, I threw myself into finishing it. For 3 weeks I drew feverishly until the final line had been drawn, I broke down completely and cried for days.
It was truly then I realized as I looked at my artwork, that in choosing heirloom china or other pieces to complement the flowers, I had selected items with a history, they meant something to me. Even the gold sugar bowl in this painting was from my father’s mother, whom I never knew. It was one of those pieces that stayed in the cabinet, away from childish curiosity. Memories are a powerful thing.
Drawing realistically is more than being a human copy machine. So much emotion goes into each finished artwork. It might not be a “statement” piece, but it is a tale of the heart nonetheless.