Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Unexpected Places

I am sure we have all noticed that winter is making an appearance. This involves us all putting up with dark nights and dark mornings for a while. However, winter can also be an inspiring time of the year and can sometimes throw up the odd suprise. The other morning whilst being given the run around by the gallery hounds I came across this.....

A brave Chrysanthemum still proudly holding it's head against the elements. It's growing alongside a tree stump on the banks of the Water of Leith. How did this wee fella get there?
I also noticed these....

Gorgeous Michaelmass Diasies that have set up home next to Inverleith Pond. Always a welcome blast of colour. I find daisies such a cheery flower....right up there with daffodils. The bee in the photo was completely lifeless. I guess he has done his work for the year.
Anyway seeing these flowers put me in mind of Jenny Matthews. She too gets a kick out of finding flowers in unexpected places. Jenny paints flowers but with a bit of a difference. Her work is exquisite and skillful, yet is not overly controlled or tight like traditional botanical studies. Jenny works in watercolour which, as anyone has ever attempted it knows, is not an easy medium to master. I think Jenny Matthews brings out the best in both subject matter and medium. The paintings strike a delicate balance and have a real life to them. This probably has a lot to do with the fact she always works from real flowers which can be a challenge as so many are seasonal. She has to be pretty organised in her work and often makes detailed studies that can be worked into finished paintings at a later date. The background in her work is also important, being impressions of where her final subject matter was found. The next image shows actual Michaelmass Diasies and captures their charm perfectly.

"Aberlady, East Lothian Theme".
I loved this painting when I first viewed it and got even more excited when I noticed the tiny shells interspersed amongst the flowers. Perfect.
And this beauty.....

"Alkanet, Welsh Poppies & Bluebells".
I had an on going battle with Welsh Poppies in my garden this year. They won! I now admire their perseverance and anyway a bit of colour from spring to winter is no bad thing..... I am sure nature knows best.

Jenny Matthews trained under Dame Elizabeth Blackadder at Edinburgh College of Art and you can immediately see the tutor-student influenec which is not uncommon. Jenny Matthews is having a solo exhibition with Union Gallery in May 2010. I am really looking forward to it as, having emerged from the dark dreary winter months, we will be in need of a spot of colourful nature at it's best.

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