When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. (Georgia O’Keeffe)
Inspired by my friends’ gardens in Mindo Ecuador, this evolving make-believe garden of acrylic paint has grown one flower at a time! Gingers and heliconias make excellent subject matter for botanical studies, but it’s been about ten years since I painted the lovely queen of the night.
A fringe benefit of working from life is the fragrance of the flowers!
Capturing the essence of the elegant datura (brugmansia) raised the bar and challenged me to transport the viewer into the mysteries of a nocturnal cloud-forest scene. Datura, a bewitching queen of the evening, opens at dusk and releases her intoxicating fragrance throughout the night. A dangerous hallucinogen, it is used by shamans in ayahuasca ceremonies and is also abused by criminals to drug unsuspecting victims. Devoted gardeners cultivate it for the beauty of its flowers and the delicate lemony aroma.
After working inside during the night, I moved to the garden and painted briefly the next morning.
The daturas preside over shade loving plants, and each compliments the other. Deep crimson king’s torch gingers dig their toes into the cool soil and stretch skyward toward the datura. Flaming-orange heliconias squeeze between available gaps and fill in the middle ground. At night, I sometimes wonder what creature might be lurking in the shadows only a few feet away!