Monday, May 07, 2012
Tulips in Glass Jar by Virginia Fine Artist Cathyann Burgess
To every thing, there is a season.
I kept humming the song written by Pete Seeger in 1959 based on Ecclesiastes in the Bible, made famous by the Byrds, in 1965, as I painted. Therefore, I chose that title for my painting of my tulips. I remembered the term vanitas from art history study. Often, we recall the still life of 17th century Northern European painters who loved allegory.
Vanitas in art, hearkens to the viewer that all things return to dust. Usually a human skull will be included in a still life with other worldly objects to drive that notion and raise our consciousness to a higher order of thought.
We, as still life painters try to capture, for all time, that fleeting moment of beauty. I prefer to leave out the gruesome in my paintings. But there was before me the evidence of death, and the beauty in it, as the petals dropped. Each day I painted, the tulips faded, leaving me with the medusa of twisting stems and rotting leaves in the jar. Of course, by then, I had most of the information I needed to continue, but I was sad they were gone.
These tulips were my subject is a smaller study in the last post. I spent the rest of the week with them, looking from all angles, turning and inspecting, enjoying the brilliance of their color and the grace in their form as they opened and turned their gaping mouths this way and that. Their season short, but the memory long and lovely.
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