Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bookie Indulgence, Creative Allowance & Botanical Wonder

On Tuesday I treated myself to British Printmaker Angie Lewin's Plants and Places, which I've been drooling over for nearly 9 months.

Every time I thought I'd decided to indulge and buy it, I've talked myself out of it (telling myself it was because of the price -- it retails at £25.00). I almost talked myself out of it again this week, but when flipping through the pages I got that sudden and surprisingly unexpected spark of creative inspiration, like a lightening flash of "what if?" and jittery positive anticipation that I've gotten before with this very book. I've told myself for a considerable amount of time that one, (which, incidentally, I often have to remind myself also includes ME), must pay attention to these little signs... they point us in the right direction. 
That spark of inspiration? 
... it's the equivalent of star dust and worth its weight in gold.

When I first saw Plants and Places it also caused me a bit of worry, as odd as that sounds. For quite a long time I've noticed the minutiae of botanical shapes and structures that surround me. I'd been taking more and more close-up shots and found it hard to walk anywhere without bending down for a closer look at this little bud or that little stem, the intricate structures and forms that can be observed and enjoyed when you bother to look a bit closer. 

These are some photos I took. I have loads in my archives, but these are some that I bothered to put up on flickr.

 I had bought a book about the wildflowers of Britain and Ireland to learn a bit more and attempted to draw and paint the shapes that I saw in some sort of structural way, with a larger, yet undeveloped project or series of projects in mind. Then I found Plants and Places. I saw some similar ideas that I had been trying to put down on paper, some things that had been dancing around in my imagination and it hit me. I worried slightly, (as I know other people surely experience too), that it might appear I formed my original ideas from Lewin's developed work. The thing that seems silly to me now is that no one could see what was in my mind's eye anyhow, and my materialized ideas didn't necessary reflect what I was thinking yet! I don't know for sure, but I wonder if the flagging and ultimately burying of these infant artistic ideas was the result of this self-inflicted judgement and worry? Instead of using Lewin's gorgeous work as fresh inspiration and a perhaps a sort of validation of some great ideas of my own, I let it stunt me. Is it possible? Definitely possible, I think. So I've bought the book now, and couldn't be happier. Onwards and upwards! 

These are some of the things I was working on at the time. They were not an end result, but developing ideas... but I certainly felt like I was headed somewhere.

And then... I saw THIS amazing book two days ago and gasped at how beautiful it looked before I even realized what it was about! 

 I read the subtitle: Mrs. Delany {begins her life's work} at 72  -- and of course I was compelled to look closer. Inside are 35 rich, full-colour botanical illustrations and inside the front cover reads:  

"...(she) picked up a pair of scissors and, at the age of seventy-two, created a new art form, mixed-media collage. Over the next decade, Mrs. Delany created an astonishing 985 botanically correct, breathtaking cut-paper flowers, now housed in the British Museum and referred to as the Flora Delanica."

More inspiration, more star dust...
... oh, and in the very near future, a little trip to the British Museum.

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