Tulips, blossom and the Chelsea Flower Show

19 May 2013

Yellow tulips oil on canvas 16 by 13ins

Spring never did quite arrive, or rather it came and went while I was cleaning my teeth last Tuesday. I have finally finished a couple of still lifes of flowers, just in time for the week of the Chelsea Flower Show, not that the two things are related except by the presence of flowers, nor that I have ever set foot in the Flower Show. I have, however, noticed the rather smart union flags on the Sloane Square Hotel which look particularly good against the early morning light, and am hopeful for good subject matter this coming week in the square. Will it be figures in summer hats, or clutching brollies? Good subject matter either way.

One of these days I will learn some proper horticultural terms. I have already been berated by an uncle for the title of one of my paintings- ‘Under the Blossom Tree’. Is it an amelanchier perhaps? I think not, but I admit that there is clearly no such thing as a blossom tree, and accept that I have a lot to learn.

Blossom is an excellent subject because it allows for abstract mark-making. Too many flowers to paint them all- you have got to find a language of suggestion, and that is wonderfully apt because what could be more dreamy and suggestive than the sight of a magnolia tree in full bloom? I have been trying to paint a series based on a small girl looking upwards into the branches of a magnolia tree, but I had another plan for painting children and blossom, and time and the moderate weather have robbed me of that opportunity, at least for another year. I can only apologise, and try to plan better and work faster next time!