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Pickerel Weed


Melissa Blue Fine ArtΒ 

Pickerel Weed is such a wonderful plant, standing tall right at the edge of water where I like to hang out. Frogs lurk here, snakes sometimes slither, herons stalk while dragonflies hang in the air taunting us mud-bound creatures.

For years I have been playing it safe with my paintings. The occasional expert would look quizzically at me and ask why I was holding back. I would pretend I didn’t know what they meant. However, the more I enjoy all of the amazing blogs I find here, the more I realize that simply recording the wonders and beauty of nature can be done far better with a camera. Oh, there is photorealism, of course, but I always found that a bit pretentious. And so, it is time to take a deep breath and jump into whatever pools of creativity my heart and paintbrush can take me to. My best college professor would stand at our elbow, urging us to push ourselves, and then push further. At the time I felt it was all I could do to generate a good composition and overall image. Every canvas was like leaping into a deep lake and swimming across. I’d get to the far shore panting, relieved just to have made it, let alone worried about the style with which I got there. You don’t want to know how long ago that was! Well, you might but I don’t want to tell you πŸ™‚ At this point I feel I may well drown, or retreat back to the muddy shore I’m so fond of. But I’m going to try being brave, pushing myself into expressing whatever it is that my soul wants to express about the natural world. It’s wordless, so don’t ask me to explain!

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anais Nin



33 thoughts on “Pickerel Weed

  1. Good for you for stepping out of the safety zone. I feel exactly the same way about my knitting. Do I stick with the tried and true, or try something more adventurous and “free?” I say, let’s do both!

    1. Yes, let’s! πŸ™‚

  2. Yes…out of the comfort zone. I will go with you! This was a wonderful post.

  3. Thank you Maria, I am grateful to have your company on this quest!

  4. Good for you! I need to do that with painting too.

    This is lovely. I love the light, and all the little details along the stalk.

    1. Oh, yes, I’d love to see what you will do with your painting. Your skills are there, now you can let go! πŸ™‚ Thank you, Deborah.

  5. This is beautiful painting and what a wonderful realisation. Keep them coming!

    1. Whew~ok, I’ll try! Thank you so very much for your encouragement. It means so much to me!

  6. Trully beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much, Pete! It makes me so happy that you like it.

  7. Can’t wait to see this adventure unfold! I’m sure that with your sense of beauty you can definitely go with wherever this stretching will take you! So, what have you got to lose? I’m excited for you!

    1. Thank you, Gunta! I feel like I am standing on top of a waterfall, daring myself to jump in. Could be rocks down there, but it will no doubt be exhilarating πŸ™‚

  8. Express yourself. You are the only one who can do it. It is the best.

    1. You’re right, of course. Here goes!

  9. “expressing whatever it is that my soul wants to express about the natural world.” That is it in a nutshell – pure and simple! And there is no right or wrong – it’s all good! πŸ™‚ Yay, for you, Melissa. Looking forward to your evolvement. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much, Eliza! Yup, pure and simple. Until the next canvas, the next day… πŸ™‚

  10. I love the strong, vertical lines in your painting. There’s the pickerel weed flower, of course, and its leaves, but there are those other lines on the right that are so intriguing. Sometimes, they seem to be rising, like smoke. Then, I look again, and think of rain replenishing the pond.

    Capturing rising and falling in one image is a neat trick, but you did it. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

    Your musings about opening yourself to your own creativity reminded me of a passage from Annie Dillard I once wrote down:

    “The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is the possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek.”

    1. Wow, she put it really well. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful response to my painting. I really wasn’t sure what I was doing~just sort of groping along with color until suddenly it resolved itself. “Oh”, I said to myself. So I was quite surprised by the curving lines but I rather like them too. πŸ™‚

  11. Painting gives you an interpretive freedom well beyond mere representation. Go for it!

    1. I probably should have done a few like this before I went and trumpeted about it because yesterday in the studio I found myself right back to my old ways. I think learning is like that, though, isn’t it?

      1. Maybe a double dose of caffeine will get you jumping over the psychic hurdle.

      2. Haha, yeah. As a matter of fact, I believe my coffee pot is calling me right now…

  12. I applaud your bravery! And the pickerel is a beauty.

    1. Gulp! It was scary~ I am so happy you like it, and grateful for your support! Thank you.

  13. This is one of my favorites of your work, Melissa. And you are just getting started, so to speak. πŸ™‚
    I chuckled at your comment about photo-realism. I have decided to get out my old collection of Prismacolor pencils, along with adding some new ones as well as Faber-Castells and doing just that…photo-realistic pencil works of nature. Of course, I have done nothing of the kind in ballpark 40 years, so I am starting at cave painting. So far it is not a pretty sight. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much Steve. You’re right, I feel like I am just beginning πŸ™‚ When I made that crack about photo-realism, I wasn’t thinking of all of my friends who enjoy doing it. I was thinking of a small snooty group of artists who seized control of the art department at my local college and, from that platform, held sway over the way art is perceived here. Needless to say, my work has always been OUT as far as this establishment has been concerned! πŸ™
      I am tickled to learn that you are picking up your pencils once again. I would love to see what you do with them.

      1. When the time comes, and if the results are not too embarrassing, then I will post something or another. Right now I am busy learning how to draw a cube. πŸ™‚

      2. Oh ho, those tricky cubes πŸ™‚ Just let go of what you “know” and draw what you see.

  14. Your post desperately made me want to start painting again. I have my paints… I have my brushes…. I know EXACTLY where they are… but for years now I have not been able to pick them up.

    1. Oh yes I’m familiar with that resistance. I’ve found that being gentle with yourself is the best way forward. For example, you could get them out and place them in a comfortable place where you might want to work. And then go have a treat, like a walk or something. Another day, simply spend 5-15 minutes (use a timer), playing. Don’t try for anything serious, just make some marks. Gradually the part within that is resisting will feel safe and will let you continue.

      1. Thanks! Maybe I will try that πŸ™‚

  15. Although I also love the photos I see, I love to see the artistic interpretations of what people see. They make me pay attention to the ‘real’. An example would be the wavy vertical lines in the upper right hand corner of your painting …. Make me realize the water is moving with respect to the plant ( the stems in the painting are vertical as well). Very nice!

    1. Thanks, Jane πŸ™‚ I wasn’t sure what those lines at the top right were, to be honest with you. They just insisted on being there so I allowed it. It interests me to read your interpretation.

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