Pressed Botanical Specimen Paintings
My inspiration for this series is like most of my work; an exploration of fragility, impermanence and the spark of life. It started as an experiment with drying and dyeing flowers in an attempt to preserve the individual beauty of each bloom. I go through a process of dyeing and pressing my reference blooms. (These are the actual blooms that I look at as a guide for the shape and color of my paintings.) It takes a couple of weeks to get a bloom ready to be painted. Once the reference is ready it can take several hours to sketch and paint a finished piece. My goal is to have a painting that is a slight exaggeration of the bloom. During the dyeing and pressing process the flowers have natural flaws that become more noticeable. Also, they are often damaged in a way that creates new irregularities or scars. I find this damage beautiful and poignant. When I start to paint a bloom I try to focus on these irregularities. I do this by intensifying them with more detail or color and texture than is found in the rest of the painting.