Firecracker Flowers

Firecracker Flowers – Watercolor – 11 x 14 inches.

Throughout the history of human beings, flowers have had to bear the burden of being symbols of something other than merely being flowers. Angels, for instance, have not been able to simply exist as angels, but have also had to be symbols of invisible forces, messengers of various Gods, guardians of humans, et cetera.

Flowers suffer the same fate: Beauty and Spring and the Brevity of Life are obvious examples. Alchemists have called meteorites and shooting stars “Celestial Flowers.” (Have you ever wondered why there are so many paintings of peonies in Asian art? One reason is that peonies symbolize vulvas. There, now you know.)

Aside from the most obvious associations of yellow flowers with the sun and red flowers with passion and blood, my own favorite flower symbol is the “Mystic Center,” that is, an archetypal image of the Soul. But when I’m actually drawing and painting flowers, I never think of what they symbolize. I just try to honor their presence as beautiful gifts from somewhere that poke their paths out of dirt in search of sunlight, bringing moments of joy into the lives of their fellow creatures on this earth – us.

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More images on my website: johnmichaelkeating.com Source: https://instagr.am/p/CGJCnjmIK4v/

2 thoughts to “Firecracker Flowers”

  1. the watercolor is beautiful in itself…but with your added commentary, the painting becomes even more alive with depth and beauty ~~~thank you for all your efforts to share these creations!

  2. Drawn to the vibrant colors I find this attractive painting beautiful for more reasons than just the colors. The explosive quality of the flowers no doubt accounts for its name. The random as well as symmetrical design of the blooms also carry some of the fireworks theme. But I also enjoy the few elements of decay and decline: the odd bloom or two that have begun to droop, the yellow beginning to show in the leaves. You do pay homage to your Asian predecessors who focused on flowers, but also to Albrecht Dürer and to the Dutch Masters who loved still life depictions that often contained a hint of the inevitable decay and death of the fruit, pheasants and fennel that spilled over the table top; a fly, a few bruised grapes, the lolling neck of the dead goose, the static nature of dead lobsters.

    Yours is a much more subtle rendering, but it’s still there: the exuberance of life as well as the reminder of the transience of all things. Beautiful painting, beautiful reminder to stop and enjoy beauty when we see it. Smell the roses, or in this case paint the firecrackers.

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