Friday, August 24, 2012

"When Lilacs...Bloomed" will be on exhibition .... Maple and Main Gallery of Fine Art next week.  The current show comes down after the gallery closes on Sunday, and the new show will be up for visitors to enjoy on Wednesday when the gallery opens at its usual time of 11 o'clock.  The official opening for the new show is next Friday, a week from tonight, from 5 to 8 PM.  I hope to see you there.  Please come see me when you are there.  I look forward to visiting with you.

You may remember that I began this painting on the evening of the day in May that my sister died.  I wrote a series of blog posts about the process of creating this painting, as well as a second, larger painting on the same theme, which I have not yet completed.

"When Lilacs...Bloomed," 10x20" original acrylic on stretched canvas, copyright Joan Cole

Initially, the title of this piece was "In the Valley...."  However, in the four months that it has taken me to complete it, I have realized that--as important as that valley has been to my family for generations--my focus of this piece was less on the valley (which is the Connecticut River valley near Springfield, Massachusetts) than it is on the lilacs.  As Springfield natives, my sisters and I enjoyed the fruits (and vegetables) produced by the farms on the fertile lands bordering the river:  asparagus in the spring, apples and potatoes in the fall, and a cornucopia of other produce.  But my family treasured above all the flowers that thrived in that alluvial soil.  We are not particular  or fussy when it comes to blossoms; any will do, dandelions to daisies and on to delphiniums and beyond.  But who can resist the fragrance, colors, and textures of a bouquet of lilacs in the spring?

Spring came early in New England this year, so the lilacs began blooming in April, which is a month early for them.  My sister had been doing poorly all winter, so I took their early blossoms as a sign from my mom--who had died when the lilacs were in profusion in another May many years ago--that my sister would not be with me much longer.  This may sound lugubrious to you or attention-seeking on my part or whatever.  Actually, it is my way of processing my grief.  I am grateful that my sister is no longer suffering.  I know lilacs will bloom again.  I know that beauty will always be all around me in every season.  I do not think of this as a sad painting.  It is a memory painting, a remembrance, a tribute to my sister.

The mountain in the background is Mount Tom in Holyoke, Massachusetts, which is north of Springfield.  It is a landmark to  natives like me.  

I'd like to hear what you think of this piece, which is certainly different from my usual plein air paintings.  Whether or not you can come to Maple & Main's opening next Friday or not, I'd enjoying hearing from you.  I encourage you to leave a comment for me.

Many thanks.  ~Joan

No comments: