Iris, Standing Tall, 30 x 22, Watercolor, copyright Pat Aube Gray
I am not really sure what is driving my muse these days, but large flowers are uncharacteristic for me. I completed the painting of this huge iris this morning and you may recall that back on July 13, 2008 I posted Brooke's Texas Rose, another full sheet of watercolor paper occupied by a single oversized yellow rose. (It is simply coincidence that I named the painting for my daughter Brooke's love of Texas, the yellow rose tattoo on her leg, and the fact that it was her birthday!) When my other daughter, Kerry, died last year, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the flowers we brought home, some of which I identified with her natural beauty. In particular, there was a huge, and I do mean huge, white rose, glorious in its fragrance, its size, and the singular beauty of it, and it became a symbol for me of my daughter's natural grace and simple elegance. I vowed then to someday paint that white rose, or one like it, in memory of Kerry. I have not yet done it as I am simply not ready to, I am afraid I could not do it justice, and I have not come across another rose that has the magnificence of that one. Perhaps these other flower paintings are baby steps leading me toward the white rose, or perhaps they are the result of a deeper appreciation for and connection to the simple, yet elegant beauty that we sometimes take for granted. It is interesting to me, too, that I have chosen to paint these flowers in watercolor instead of the oil I have used so much of late. But these subjects beckoned me to watercolor and the attempt to achieve the luminosity inherent in sunlit flower petals. Kerry's favorites were sunflowers, with roses a very close second. Do not be surprised to see more flower paintings...a giant sunflower, perhaps?