Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Night by the River

   It's not quite dry yet, but the other night when the painting stopped, I found myself gazing at a giantess.  In a misty forest of immense Queen Anne's lace she crosses a stream next to a small fortified town.  The flower tops are brighter than stars and block out the moon, and some would call them bird's nest weed, mother die, bishop's lace, wild carrot, bees' nest, fools parsley, devil's plague, rantipole, or lace flower.
   This painting was begun late last summer I think, and it sat neglected for a long time.  Perhaps the only thing more frustrating than painting on top of black -- which drinks up every colour that goes on it and almost sucks the light right out of the room -- is trying to photograph something which has been painted on black, so I'll have to apologize for the quality of the photos.  There was nothing for it, no matter what lighting, angle, or camera setting I used each was worse than the one before.  Here is my best effort:

   (Click and then click again to Enlarge)

   This painting was even more than usual a learning experience, and if I ever paint on black again, I believe I will have a few things up my sleeve (or at least know a few things not to do!).  All the problems aside, I have always had a special affection for icons written on a black background, dark lacquered boxes, and the odd medieval saint painting I've found on black, so I wouldn't completely rule out trying it again some day. But not some day soon, I don't think. 
   Also a learning experience was spending some time today reading some of the associations Queen Anne's lace has, its use as a herb, and different names it has, which I found here.  You will also find some explanations of the name 'Queen Anne's lace' there.  I was only familiar with the story that Queen Anne was making lace when she pricked her finger, and the small, red flower you see in the middle was a drop of her blood.  But I really prefer the idea that the queen is the red flower in the middle, and the white flowers around constitute her enormous lace collar.  Though, it also makes a lot of sense that Queen Anne could refer instead to Saint Anne, who is the patron saint of lace makers.  I can't say that any of these bits of lore were meant to bear on the painting, but I thought I'd share them, since I always so enjoy that sort of information myself.
   And now I see the light is pouring in like golden honey, so it must be that hour of the evening when spices and steam and delicious smells waft out of the kitchen, and I had better be on my way.


  1. I love it Jodi! In all its indigo and strangeness :)
    You know I've read that the name "mother die" is common for a lot of these white flowers with tiny petals and that the reason children were told not to bring them indoors causing their mother to die was just because the dropped petals would make a mess and the mothers would say "you'll be the death of me" or something similar in frustration at the clearing up!

  2. Glad you liked it, Rima!
    And that makes good sense about the flowers... Queen Anne's lace seem to collect a lot of insects on them, and most moms would probably not like that so much either. Oh, when I think of all the toads and bugs that I brought in to show my mother (who worked nights and so was usually in bed during the day) it's pretty surprising that *I* wasn't murdered!

  3. Lovely, lovely, lovely and aren't the old names for herbs and flowers wonderful!

  4. Heisann Jodi!

    Thanks sharing the poetic text and the beautiful painting with us. I did not no the story of Queen Anne.
    The first blue horse is mine. I dicided to make my own symbols for the sign of the primstav (norse calendar) More will come...this is the second work!
    Have a nice weekend!

  5. jodi, it's so beautiful! i love these flowers, the way that you made them so immense and full of light, as you said, more so than stars... and the fortress she walks across: there are so many worlds in this image, i can only imagine who would lean down to pick the queen anne's lace. your control over color is excellent--i can't imagine what the problems might have been, but you bested them all! gorgeous!