Serendipitous Iris

Today as I was searching for some wise words to inspire and ignite some passion for a current writing project, I found this David St. John poem, the find sort of fitting in with this current blog theme but also as prelude to a favorite painting :

Van Gogh, "Irises" 1889

And to elaborate on that theme, here’s something from the late fiction writer, Iris Murdoch, whose letters I read and catalogued for a grad school research project in Special Collections; this was correspondence between Iris and a beloved lit professor, Naomi Lebowitz (such a wonderful mentor and so inspiring herself as well).  The letters were delicious, full of her love of life, passion, urgency, and fervor:


“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad
with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ”
Iris Murdoch

And my favorite Iris novel, the cover’s illustration sort of remiscent of the Japanese paintings that were such an inspiration to Van Gogh, and you can definitely see it here. ..the sea,the sea reaching out to us with its fingerlike waves:

And now for the poem quote:

I love how the flower parts inspire a childlike wonder and free association of objects here.


From “Iris”
by David St. John
"There is a train inside this iris:

You think I'm crazy, & like to say boyish
& outrageous things. No, there is

A train inside this iris.

It's a child's finger bearded in black banners.
A single window like a child's nail,. . ."

Garden Still Life

“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not
anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they
themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly
read. ” —Alice Walker

Yesterday I finished my iris painting, an act which left my easel empty again. . .so afterwards I assembled this outdoor still life with a little help from a gardener friend next door.  I already had the peace roses, yarrow, and coral bells in my yard.  Mary provided the yellow gerbera daisies, lilies, and a few lacy varieties I can’t name at the moment.

I snapped some photos of the bouquet to set aside for future paintings.

Later I brought my easel outdoors to photograph the new painting.  The outdoor light really changed the look of the work, making it seem a little flat and washed out. . .so out came the brushes for some sunlight tweaking. A couple of hours later, I felt like I was really finished (again).

It was nice to see Mary’s reaction when I showed her the new work. Now that the original iris has dropped its petals, the painted one is bringing back some happy memories. 🙂

And now for something completely different:

Mixed Media and Photo Collage: “Eve Meets Bess”