Peonies are one of my favorite flowers to paint. Their many petals create an exuberant combination of light and shadow that feels somehow chaotic and restful at the same time. The myriad shapes caused by their numerous, colorful petals are the perfect subject for the fluidity and subtlety of watercolors. The transparency of the paint enhances the delicate shapes, hues and shadows of the flower. Recently I have been using a limited palette of paint colors in my paintings. It was a fun challenge to express the delicate hues using just a few colors.
This painting is part of a series I am working on about my encounters with flowers. Anytime I paint flowers, I think about how much of the plant’s energy must go into making such riotous blooms that last only for a few days. It seems joyously extravagant to expend so many resources for such a brief display but it reminds me that life is often lived that way. We go through our daily lives without much fanfare, but times will come when all of us are called to be our best selves and give our beauty and our gifts back to the world in a meaningful way.
Creating White Peonies was especially restorative and meaningful to me. In January my partner was diagnosed with leukemia and spent many months going through treatment. Now in remission, she finished her last treatment when the peonies were in bloom this spring. I started this painting just as she was strong enough to go back to work. Her diagnosis came as a blizzard raged, making the New Jersey winter feel even darker and colder than usual, but her recovery made the springtime all the more joyous.
This painting is currently available for sale. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing it.