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Monarch on Coneflower
Monarch on Coneflower
Changes fascinate me. As I sit here, I can gaze out at my sodden garden. Unusual warm temperatures hastened blooms, and now it has turned cold and wet. We’re getting quite a lot of rain which seems welcome to me and my button bush. Life teaches us that all things must change, and yet we seem to resist this. Perhaps we should be asking, “what about these changes might be good?”. Just a thought.

There is change going on in my studio as well. As you can see from this lively Monarch, I want to move away from the strict reporting of the facts of representational painting toward a more intuitive response. I’ve been reading about Georgia O’Keefe and am inspired by something she spoke of. Rather than stand outside of creation and report on it, she wanted to paint from the midst of creation. I love the idea of that, and will be exploring it in my own work.

For my Monarch painting, I felt that the blue-lavender background was too static. I wanted to suggest movement and energy, and thought broken color at the top of the canvas would do that. When the paint started to drip, I decided I quite liked that and so encouraged some more colors to drip. Too fun!

So that’s what I’m up to. What changes are you noticing in your life?

22 thoughts on “Changes

  1. Glad you’re having some fun with your art, Melissa. That’s a lovely monarch – I hope they have a good season this year.
    Funny you mention resistance to change. I’ve recently come to some thoughts on my own about the futility of resistance. It is self-inflicted suffering – crazy to do! I came to a similar conclusion – find the silver lining, find the good and praise it. Makes sense and our body will be healthier for it. 🙂

  2. I saw this on FB so hopped over here. It’s a beautiful painting. O’Keefe was wonderful. I watched a documentary on her recently and admired her work immensely. I also saw one of her photos in an exhibition a couple of weeks ago. Go where nature takes you. Change happens. Roll with it. Not always easy though.

    1. Thank you so much Andrew. Yes, I’ve always admired her work too. So brave she was, to carve her own path in work and in life. Indeed change does happen, doesn’t it?

  3. beautiful poem and painting,
    have a peaceful day Melissa

  4. Thank you Eddie. I wish the same for you.

  5. Your monarch is lovely. I found two on a piece of prairie yesterday. One was busy in the grass, and the other was flitting among the ladies’ tresses orchids. Finally, I managed a photo of the butterfly on an orchid — at quite a distance — and chalked up another lesson: I always should carry my telephoto lens, even if I think I won’t need it.

    A lens change can make quite the difference — as you discovered here when you changed the “lens” through which you were seeing your painting.

    I’ve always found O’Keeffe inspiring. Her concept of painting (photographing, writing, sculpting) from the midst of creation makes perfect sense to me. The end result may be an abstraction, or representational, but in either case it will differ from the art produced by someone who attempts to stand wholly apart.

  6. Thanks Linda. It is exciting to hear of the Monarchs beginning their journey north. I’m interested to learn they were getting nectar from the ladies tresses. Years ago I was lucky enough to see them clustered in trees in Monterey, CA to overwinter. Jeweled trees~utter magic.
    Yes, O’Keefe’s ideas make perfect sense to me as well. She certainly needed to have courage to forge her own path though. Early critics had some pretty stupid takes on her work, and I still hear their ridiculous thoughts parroted today by some. No matter. When I look at her work the world falls silently away.

  7. ’tis a lovely little lep of a monarch, it is. 🙂

    I am glad that you followed your instinct to keep the drippings (last time I used that word was Thanksgiving 🙂 ) and take yourself in a new direction. Growth and creativity are part of our existence as artists. I too have always like O’Keefe’s work and think that she must have had an interesting personality, which I think shows magnificently in this Ansel Adams shot.

    1. And I’m sure you’re aware of the many portraits Stieglitz made of O’Keeffe:

  8. Oh I love that shot of her! Doesn’t she look like a handful? 🙂
    You’re right, we really do need to push ourselves. I’m glad you like my drippings.

  9. I appreciate your explanation that you used broken colors at the top of the painting to suggest movement and energy. Only rarely do we get to hear what the painter intended in a particular piece. Happy abstraction to you!

  10. Thanks Steve! I am indeed happy in my journey into abstraction.

  11. Very delightful, and what an unfolding

    1. thank you for your kind comment. it can be scary bringing something new out into the light of day. You have no idea what your support means!

  12. “Painting from the midst of creation”… I like that! Change is essential to life but it often seems natural to resist change, especially if we are comfortably adapted to things as they are. I find it really easy to see the silver lining in spring changes though!
    Its interesting how often a painting and the words about it become one. Your beautiful, colourful, youthful and ephemeral butterfly and flowers and the slow but lively and unstoppable paint drips tell me that the world is painted fresh everyday. Not the concrete buildings and asphalt roads. But the trees and flowers and animals… they are always changing! Well, buildings and roads do change too… and a lot! but more slowly.

    1. I really like your thoughts on the painting and on change. Spring changes are easy to embrace, aren’t they?

  13. Love what you did here. And I love monarchs!

    1. Thank you Anarette!

  14. I recently took a photograph of a Monarch on a coneflower, Melissa, very similar to your painting. I love the orange butterfly on the pink petals.

    1. Did you? That is so cool! Thank you. I really like that color combination, too.

      1. The photo will show up in a future post in a couple of weeks. I wish I could look at it and turn it into a beautiful painting, like you did!

      2. you are so sweet to say so! I can’t wait to see your photo.

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