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  • Flora in Winter 2008

    Interpretive Floral Designers in the Galleries

    (Click on thumbnails for larger view.)

    Virgin and Child, French
    Joan Moreschi, Shrewsbury Garden Club
    I have been fortunate to participate in other Floras. I have always had a large or very colorful work of art. I thought that the size, color and simplicity of this sculpture would be a challenge for me.

    The Virgin, French
    Sarah D. Pettit, Worcester Garden Club
    There are many legends and symbols that are associated with the Virgin Mary. In paintings, the angel Gabriel was often shown presenting the Virgin with a white lily as he announced to her that she would give birth to the Son of God. White lilies symbolize purity, chastity and innocence. Blue is the color most often associated with Mary. I have taken these two facts as the basis of my interpretation of this statue.

    Snake, Roman
    Virginia C. Orlando, Independent
    I chose to interpret the snake because the snake has been regarded as a very powerful creature in all cultures. The snake represents transformation and growth, death and re-birth. The snake has also been considered a guardian of all things sacred. I feel that flowers, like the snake, have different stages of beauty within their lifecycle, even through death. I found this piece a challenge to interpret due to the medium used and the movement of the piece.

    Standing Bodhisattva, Chinese Song Dynasty
    Cathy Walsh, Independent
    Having interpreted two-dimensional works of art in the past, I wanted to challenge myself with this three-dimensional sculpture. It is also exciting to design a contemporary floral arrangement of an ancient object.

    Woman's Wedding Tunic, Sindh Province (Pakistan)
    Kathy Michie, Worcester Garden Club
    The tradition that goes along with the beautiful embroidery on this wedding tunic is what clinched this piece of art as my choice for this year’s floral interpretation. The mother stitches the first stitch on the day of her daughter’s birth, and the daughter wears this tunic not only on her wedding day but also until it is worn out. How wonderful is that?

    Prince Arikankharer Slaying His Enemies, Meroitic
    Kae Collins, Independent
    How do you reconcile violence with beauty? My challenge here is to capture the Prince’s moment of conquest using a medium traditionally devoted to expressions of romance, comfort, or joy…to let the language of flowers speak in a different dialect.

    Colossal Female Head, Cyprus
    Elizabeth McLaughlin, Laurelwood Garden Club
    The strong, confident, and happy face of Aphrodite inspires me to create an equally bold design. Her elaborate hairstyle, topped with a fantastic crown of cavorting characters leads me to believe she was the heart and soul of the party. Today, the piece is without color; however, it was probably multicolored when first sculpted.

    Untitled Painting, Vasily Kandinsky, Russian
    Kim Cutler,Worcester Garden Club
    Kandinsky helped pioneer abstract art and believed that form and color could create a mood without referring to nature. To me the mood in this painting is light and festive, similar to a soft spring day where one is compelled to fly a kite in celebration. I hope to capture the floating quality of the forms, their delicate movement through space, the tenderness of the colors and the joyful atmosphere of the work.

    Lake Avernus, Richard Wilson, British
    Michele Creamer/Sandra Tosches, Greenleaf Garden Club of Milford
    The strong interplay of light and dark green vegetation creates interest and tension in the painting. There is also an architectural element in the background and foreground that draws the eye to the small figures in the center.

    Still Life, Joris van Son, Flemish
    Nancy A. Roberts, Independent
    I chose this painting for its simple beauty. With the dark, even provocative background, the ordinary pieces of fruit take on an almost jewel - like appearance. Does this still life signify the bud of romance…a lover courting his beloved? I hope to capture some of the contrasts in color, texture, and let you use your imagination!

    The Vision of Saint Jerome, Follower of Caravaggio, Italian
    Susan B. Dewey, Worcester Garden Club, Osterville Garden Club
    With this design, I have tried to capture Saint Jerome’s awe at the power of God with a dramatic, horizontal sweep of contrasting light and dark elements, chosen to reflect the tonal extremes found in paintings by Caravaggio’s followers. Dried, pale-colored plant materials in the arrangement were chosen to signify the fragility of human existence before the bright light of God. Vivid orange and rust-colored flowers were used to reflect man’s attempt to endure, seen in the naturalistic coloring of Jerome’s beard, his brave orange robe and in the bright glow of the crumbling human skull. It was a joy to interpret the emotional immediacy of this marvelous painting, which was painstakingly restored to its original glory recently.

    A Still Life on a Table, Gerrit Heda, Dutch
    Thelma H. Shoneman, Acton Garden Club
    I selected this amazing still life painting because of its stunning realism and the contrasts and textures of the components. Still life as a floral design style is one of my favorites. This floral style features objects and includes minimal plant material. I was fascinated with the challenge of the reverse process of interpreting a still life with the emphasis on floral material. I started with the Cecropia leaves to suggest the white cloth in the painting. When I heard Jim Welu explain that the symbolism of the painting was about “the fleeting of life” or “the party is over,” the interpretation challenge became even more intriguing.

    Portrait of a Woman, Flemish
    Ellen Patterson/Holly Shuman, Sherborn Garden Club
    We were intrigued by the challenge of depicting the strong, clear lines and scalloped edges of the young woman’s dress. She wears a varied array of textured fabrics, including laces and highly textured sleeves studded with pearls. Since there is not a dominant color in the painting, we choose to emphasize her wealth and power using royal colors which contrast against the innocent pinks of her skin tone. The young woman exudes wealth in her rich fabrics and jewels which we strive to capture in luxurious flowers in a classic container.

    Saint John the Baptist, Defendente Ferrari, Italian
    Julie Day/Deborah Coleman/Ruth Gorman, Hopkinton Garden Club
    This is a beautiful panel painting. The way Ferrari has captured the folds and layers in Saint John the Baptist’s cloak, wrapped around a warm fur, and the highly decorative tiled flooring upon which he stands gently holding the Lamb, is exquisite. The depth of color in this striking piece with its bold use of red, blue and gold is something we have tried to capture in the flowers and materials we have used!

    The Holy Family and Saints, Niccolo di Bartolomeo Pisano, Italian
    Sally E. Jablonski, Independent
    The size of the painting inspired me to create a large, colorful flower arrangement to represent the holy figures. The arches create an interesting design detail that I will accentuate in this interpretation.

    Sampson Vrying Stoddard Wilder, John Vanderlyn, American
    Ken Bositis, Independent
    I was inspired by the period of the painting, the quality of the artwork, and the contrast of color. In addition, I was also drawn to Mr. Wilder’s facial expression and his stately manner.

    Pegasus, Albert Pinkham Ryder, American
    Robin Whitney, Worcester Garden Club
    Pegasus, son of Poseidon of Greek mythology, is a focus of light in this small, rather dark painting. Implausibly, I was inspired by the cheerful look and lovely curve of the wing span of this rather ungainly-legged horse. It will be a challenge!

    The Gale, Winslow Homer, American
    Beverly McClure, Independent
    I chose this wonderful work for its strength, emotion, and movement. My intention is to convey the dark anger/beauty of the sea and the strength of the woman with her child. As one looks upon this artwork you feel as if you are viewing a moving picture. I hope to suggest with flowers and foliage the feeling of wind and movement, the dark anger of the sea, and most of all, the fortitude of the fisherwoman.

    Architectural Planes, Charles Sheeler, American
    Elizabeth Call, Stow Garden Club
    The contemporary design style and choice of plant material convey the colorful patterns depicted in the painting. Using plant material provides a third dimension to the interpretation of lines of the art.

    Natalie, Frank W. Benson, American
    Andrea N. Driscoll, Independent
    I was struck by the quiet beauty and strength in this portrait by Frank Benson, who is one of my favorite painters. The artist’s use of muted color and texture illuminates her lovely, serene, yet inquisitive face, and draws the viewer in to learn more about her. The lively background seems to echo Natalie’s slight smile and makes one wonder, given the time in history, what Natalie was thinking and doing on that day as well as her role in society.

    Corn and Winter Wheat, Thomas Hart Benton, American
    Mary Fletcher, Worcester Garden Club
    I was drawn to this painting because it evokes in me feelings of nostalgia for the autumn fields of Minnesota, where I grew up. The spareness of the field and lack of vibrant color doesn’t speak to me so much of barrenness or death as it does of rest and tranquility and peace. The cool, hazy hues and muted tones create a mood that is both soothing and serene.

    Metate, Costa Rica
    Ulrike Lies/Arlene Sjosten, Worcester Garden Club
    We were inspired by the intricate decorative design used by a pre-Columbian artisan in the creation of a “household” item.