Beautiful narcissi dancing in the breeze
In the garden of my villa the last of the narcissi are flowering. Time is running out for me to paint them from life. I find painting any flowers from photographs quite soul destroying. The sense of adventure in gaining the feeling of each new blossom disappears due to the camera having already formed the basis for a composition. In fact I avoid working from photographs as often as possible because that way of working isn't for me, due to my yearning to find a sense life in each new painting.
I carried a tiny sprig of narcissi into my villa studio area and started quietly trying to capture each tiny head on the single stems. In the breeze outside all the flowers mingle as one. The sun was bright so my colour choices were too. As I worked I thought about all the bouquets I have bought over the years. Every Saturday I would have saved enough money to buy my Stepmother a bouquet and when I gave them to her she always told me the same thing. " You shouldn't have". But I always did . Watching her smile as she arranged the flowers in a vase and then proudly put them on display is such a happy memory. Please don't imagine they were grand displays of flowers. They were always bought at the end of the day from the market when the bunches were reduced in price. The flower seller must have recognised my then ginger hair walking towards them each week as they always seemed to have just one bouquet that hadn't sold. I am smiling as I type this blog post because I have only just realised he kept one for me. One week the bouquet would be daffodils or cheaper flowers that were in season. But on special occasions like Mothers Day he had one bunch just for me that contained lots of colourful blooms that I knew I couldn't have afforded at full price. His act of kindness probably rewarded my act of kindness as the money I spent on the flowers my Stepmother knew I could have put toward clothes or something just for me. But her happiness was so much more important to me.
Isn't it strange how painting something small can lead to a distant time that you thought you had forgotten? When we really are in tune working in watercolour our minds do wander and the magical quiet time is so peaceful and relaxing. I hope you find your quiet time next time you paint and I wonder what your happy memories will be!