All Things Bright and Beautiful

I love flowers and  I wrote a loooong post why I must have learned to love flowers.  They are some of God's most beautiful creations and yet most easily accessible and easy to paint.  They are almost always beautiful at any time whether they be under direct light or not.  Great artists like Van Gogh even made masterpieces out of dying sunflowers and thought of sunflowers as symbols of comfort.

Aside from their obvious beauty and value as excellent painting subjects, flowers also evoke both simple and profound pleasures that can be enjoyed outdoors and indoors, whether they be live flowers or reproductions in the form of photographs and paintings.

The following are quick works done during my spare time.  The first is a pastel on felt paper (or felt cartolina, as I grew up calling them)  based on a still life by the Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir.  This was from a period when all I could afford were plain paper, pens, cartolinas and oil pastels.  The next is a quick acrylic copy of the first still life, done in my small unit when I could finally afford acrylic paint and small canvas boards.  The last is an unfinished small acrylic on canvas board from a photo I took of my mother's garden flowers in the province.

Oil pastel based on a Renoir still life. 1/4  felt paper made between 2000-2004

Acrylic on canvas board version of the same still life above.  2004 (?)  16" x 12"

Acrylic on canvas board.  8 3/4" x 13"    2011

Modern Art may have veered away from the simple and obvious beauty of painted flowers and still lifes probably because they are "un-intellectual" subjects but I just could not deny their literal beauty.  Sending them into too much abstraction tend to lose their value altogether.  There are exceptions in modern art, of course, as seen in some artists like Georgia O'Keefe and her ultra-zoomed flower blooms.  There should be a healthy balance between overly intellectualizing subjects and getting trapped in the level of the visually obvious.  The former can tend toward an elitist art form while the latter limits art to its very basic visual pleasures.  In this I am always guided by Francis Schaeffer who believes in the God-given intellect in each artist but asserts that art still should be primarily a visually pleasurable experience.

Let me end this post with this beautiful Anglican Hymn:

1. All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
2. Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
All things bright ...
3. The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
All things bright ...
4. The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;−
All things bright ...
5. The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,−
He made them every one:
All things bright ...
6. The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;−
All things bright ...
7. He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
All things bright ...

Red Canna by Georgia O'Keefe.  image from

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