Mar 24, 2018

The fourth in my most recent series of tulip portraits is a departure from the up close and personal nature of its predecessors. It's both simpler and more complex.

I was drawn to the photo for the sinuous nature of the leaves and stem and to the strength of the perfect, so proud. And I loved the messy cacophony of the shadows cast by the five-arm chandelier that lit the subject. The flower came together quickly, the shadows less so. As I wrestled with the layers of tint and shade I came to wonder if it would ever fall together. And I wondered if it would ever speak to me beyond the difficulty it was presenting.

It wasn't until it was complete that I saw it for what it was. Those shadows were jealous of the bloom. Hard as they may try to compete, they were but a reflection of the curious perfection that nature always manages to achieve in her infinite variety. They mock the flower but they mock themselves in the process.

I can't help but think about the current state of our humanity. We seem to have forgotten that we are all imperfectly created out of the same oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. We love our children and breathe the same air. We all eat, sleep, yearn, cry, fear, want, laugh and triumph in the same way. And yet, whether it's scrawled on city buildings or plastered on billboards or shared on Twitter, we berate each other and treat each other as if they are not us. We seem oblivious to the fact that as we mock others we, in turn, mock ourselves. How silly, really, it is. Silly if we were only shadows on a wall.

Painting: Mocking - Chandelier Jealousy © Lissa Banks 2018