The Power of the Flower

So, I tend to like to paint or depict flowers in my art.  A lot. 

I guess the simplest explanation for this is that I love flowers.  But one could go deeper.

Mom taught me to draw flowers first.  And she told me that I was good at it.  Drawing flowers = Mom’s Approval, therefore drawing flowers is good. Bang.  I still remember the first time she showed me how she drew roses, and how I practiced like mad.

Those that know me will also know that I love to garden.  I call myself a flower gardener, because I can do flowers.  They seem to grow for me, whereas vegetables seem to disdain my puny attempts to grow them.  Watching the flowers in my beds over the years, I have received a bit of an education.  Flowers have things to teach us about beauty, the transience of life, cycles of life, being useful, etc.  First, in their prime, they are brilliant, bright, perfumed, but as time wears on, they fade.  Some might say that the beauty is gone, but if you really look, it has just morphed in to a different kind of beauty – a beauty of a different line, softer colour, asymmetry and usefulness.  This is where we learn about life cycles, as the petals fall to be replaced with the seed that will bring next years crop of blushing beauty.  Of course, one also needs to mention that in their time, the flowers feed the bees and humming birds.  What a paragon of virtue these small brights are!

Finally, flowers have been used as a symbol of peace.  I am ALL about that.  I have decided that I would rather be a force for unity than divisiveness, and am backing off of making political statements in social media.  Especially these days when it seems that we are all so divided in our politics, and stating what we believe to be our side seems to consist mainly of criticizing what the other side is doing, thinking, believing, wearing, etc…

In any case, I guess I have actually always wanted to be a force for peace (I was always sad that I grew up too late to be a flower child!), and in thinking about the term “flower power,” I had to go and find its origin.  It seems that the American poet Allen Ginsberg introduced the idea in an essay about how to conduct a peace march.  He said that in order to disarm the potential for violence from opposing parties (police and Hell’s Angels!) that the marchers should bring loads of flowers to give to the police and the Angels as well as any politicians, press and spectators that might be on hand.  He also said they should bring toys, crosses, flags, musical instruments, candy bars and so forth.  He told them they could recite the Lord’s Prayer, or “The Star-Spangled Banner”, do mass calisthenics, or blast The Beatle’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on the loud speaker and break out into dance in order to disrupt possible violence. In essence, he was trying to tell us that it was all a big show – the politics of war, and the politics of peace - and he wanted the peace side to make a better show.  In the end, the Hell’s Angels said that they would not show up to the planned march, and violence was indeed, averted.

I love that story!

I don’t always paint or sculpt flowers…but when I do, these are some of the things behind the drive to bring them out.

Are you an artist? Do you have a certain thing you seem to be inspired to paint or depict in someway over and over?  Leave me a comment below, and let me know!

Thanks for reading.  I hope you have a blessed day.