Solstice, Birthdays and Flowers

Jun 25, 2019

I don't think it's my imagination that spring has been memorably rainy this year. It is raining now as I type, a downpour actually. Since our summer is short here in New England the natives are restless for their time in the sun: beaches, cookouts, and general frolicking about. We yearn for it come January. March brings glimmers of hope. April routinely disappoints. But May and June are glorious. Just not this year.

As a result my garden is flourishing, though with an even ratio of weeds to flowers. Inside it's been a different story, here the flowers have bloomed.

I love birthdays. Seven years ago I celebrated a belated, but significant, one with family and friends in my backyard. It was pretty special. Everyone was there. Music played, festive lights hung from treetops and  twinkled in the bushes, and little vases filled with every sort of red flower lined the long, long table where we ate and toasted and laughed. The next morning I found all those little vases crammed on a small table on my deck. It was spectacular. I ran to get my camera and tripod and snapped as many photos as I could. I wish I had gotten more. Those photos were the beginning of what has become my obsession with painting flowers.

The first three works, Red Party Flower I, Red Party Flowers II and Red Party Flowers III, commemorated the party and opened the gates into a deep exploration into flowers, and particularly tulips. Nineteen paintings in total.

It's fitting that I finished this, the 19th floral, today as it marks the summer solstice, pouring rain notwithstanding. A time when not just New Englanders celebrate the moment when the sun traverses the northernmost arc in the heavens. The demarcation from one season to the next, a celebration of light and driving out of demons it marks a day of transition for me this year as well. This will be my last tulip portrait for a while.

It will be interesting to see how long I can stay away. They are the demons I have a hard time driving out of my studio.

Painting: Solstice © Lissa Banks 2019