Archive for Wildflower Illustrations

Presidential

Presidential . . .

Portrait of February
(NYC 02 2018)

President’s Day is celebrated within this week of February when wildflowers in full prime-time bloom remain more than a month distant.

But blooms can and do flower in unsuspecting places. Notable is the now unveiled official portrait of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama II.

The politics of Fine Art have proven to be as newsworthy as the politics of American Politics given the reception to the portrait, painted by Kehinde Wiley, on display at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. Long known for his inclusion of plants with symbolic connection to his sitters, the new portrait of the President is no exception. In Wiley’s own words:

“In choosing the composition and colors for this painting, I sought to create an allegorical index to President Obama’s life story — using key botanicals that reference his personal presence in the world. Jasmine from Hawaii. Chrysanthemums from Chicago. Blue African Lilies from Kenya.”

(Source: “Painting President Obama” by Kehinde Wiley)

“Excellent idea. Wonderful work.”

(Source: My own words)

I have studied History of Art since my freshman year at university. Portraiture has always fascinated me, from “A Portrait Attributed to Hans Holbein the Younger” – my senior essay – to personal study of masters of the genre: Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Alberto Giacometti, Frans Hals, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Rembrandt van Rijn, as well as Amy Sherald, the painter who rendered First Lady Michelle Obama on canvas. Like them, Kehinde Wiley holds that same kind of artistic command, that distinctive manner that lets you, the viewer, know both who you are looking at and who painted the portrait. The inclusion of wildflowers just makes the finished work all the more compelling.

(Insert Image Here) *

— rPs 02 21 2018

* Postscript: I have not posted an image of the Kehinde Wiley presidential portrait here at WWV for reasons of ethics; copyright, specifically. You can see the work and read much more by following this link:

https://www.obama.org/updates/portrait-unveiling/?source=20180214_kehindewiley&utm_medium=email&utm_source=obamafound&utm_campaign=20180214_wiley&utm_content=2+-+On+Monday+we+unveiled+it+to+the+world

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Wintry Resistance

Wintry Resistance . . .

Goldenrod Over Ice
(NYC 01 17 2018)

Flanks, standing in review over the tidal river Hudson that breathes good cold air into the street grid fibers of Manhattan, the city even shaped like a lung where reside still a few scattered remnants of the previous growing season.

Flags, of a kind, wintry, resistant to the emphatic articesque change, stand beside the rise and fall flow of fractured ice.

Winter: Here, where the Wildflowers of the West Village remain.

20180116_155626

Balance and Grace in Spite of (NYC 01 2018)

– rPs 01 17 2018

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7 Yrs.

7 Yrs. . . .

Garden Top: “Where nature and the city intersect.”
(NYC 03 22 2017)

Happy 7th Anniversary, Wildflowers of the West Village.

– rPs 03 22 2017

Postscript: You can revisit the view that instilled an ever growing idea in March 2010: https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/03/22/welcome/

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Slanted December Sunset Light

Slanted December Sunset Light . . .

Green Side of The Path (NYC 12 2015)

Green Side of the Path
(NYC 12 2015)

Why the sudden inclusion of Poetry to Wildflowers of the West Village? The answer can be traced back five years and some months to an “Ode to Onion Grass” that served my intent in art history, an extended appreciation of Albrecht Dürer.

Most of my poems shared at Wildflowers of the West Village have been subtitled “for insert historical figure’s name here.” Each strives to serve as a summation of sorts. Their existential whole, their individual presence, how has it remained felt in the accompaniment of my own one life? The poems answer.

How my educations, my ethics, my politics, my essential tastes in entertainment and recreation have been directed somewhat can be referenced by their keyword names in their broad honor.

Antecedents. Progenitors. Kin.

The cadence of my rhetoric,
Clear enough to my mind,
Best to share my best,
Universally, no gratuity.

A poem lives by readers, not sales. Sails in my sights have been those boats engaging the Hudson tidal stream. I see them when running the river paths. Running from something? No, on my feet, I am not. My pace may rather be equated to running for something, toward something, pushing for sustained strength, pausing, still, to watch a small town arrangement of wildflowers greet the west wind and the slanted December sunset light.

Green almost Loden bathed in Gold.

– rPs 12 09 2015

Postcript: “Green Side of the Path” photo starring Artemisia, Persicaria, Solanum, Malva, and Galinsoga.

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Bloomsday 2015

Bloomsday 2015 . . .

Catalpa speciosa (Bloomsday 2015)

Catalpa speciosa
(Bloomsday 2015)

“Under the upswelling tide he saw the writhing weeds lift languidly and sway reluctant arms, hising up their petticoats, in whispering water swaying and upturning coy silver fronds. Day by day: night by night: lifted, flooded and let fall. Lord, they are weary: and, whispered to, they sigh.”

– Excerpt from “Episode 3 – Proteus” of Ulysses by James Joyce

Re-Joyce. Today is Bloomsday.

– rPs 06 16 2015

Postscript: I again refer to my definitive narrative on the significance of Bloomsday to Wildflowers of the West Village: “Bloomsday” https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2010/06/16/bloomsday/

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Taxicabs and The Easter Egg Effect

Taxicabs and The Easter Egg Effect . . .

Snow Drop on Sunday

Snow Drop on Sunday

Wildflower City Firsts With Full Effect

A colony of dandelions as yellow as taxicabs scattered themselves on a browned hillside. Taxicabs, ironic in the color meets Latin cadence of Taraxacum, the official. Taraxacum Taxicabs.

And groundsel, another daisy Asteraceae and an active commuter, stood firm and flush in full yellow bloom.

Taraxacum Two-Step NYC (01 2015)

Taraxacum Two-Step
NYC (01 2015)

Bright, warmer than the season’s usual early winter face: January on a Sunday afternoon remained mild.

Groundsel Epiphany NYC (01 2015)

Groundsel Epiphany
NYC (01 2015)

A foot of snow covered the scene one week later. A sky grey like actual polished lead hung the air heavy with damp deep cold riding a wind that scoured.

Two and a half months of brown, white, and blue with an emphasis on the white has taken another form in the sustained full sun of March. A very few Galanthus nivalis have appeared. Cautious egg white snowdrop heads shaped like ornamental streetlamps peer from leaf litter soaked with snow melt. Puddles in undeveloped areas, lots and parks, have formed shallow ponds of perhaps a quarter acre in surface area up to one foot in depth.

And on Palm Sunday, Passover and Easter just days away, egg yolk yellow spoke an internal smile set in eyes of palest purple: the croci, feral for the most part in fact. City spots here and there overnight decorated with wild plant life: a park corner, a tree pit, grassy curbsides. The random and sparse spread produced The Easter Egg Effect in my own wildflower city hikes set on random and at the speed of meditation.

Croci Afternoon NYC (03 2015)

Croci Afternoon
NYC (03 2015)

Spring has arrived in the western side of Manhattan.

– rPs 03 31 2015

Postscript: The Easter Egg Effect, The High Line edition –

https://wildflowersofthewestvillage.com/2011/03/14/the-easter-egg-effect/

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Anything but Plain

Anything but Plain . . .

Why mow this pretty lawn . . . It’s in bloom! (photo taken 09 25 2012)

One immigrant wildflower of the West Village arrived on the western hemisphere with the earliest of the European colonists. The presence of this plant along the margins of their settlements inspired neighboring natives to call it White Man’s Footprint. Lawns and sidewalk cracks everywhere today sport the bigfoot oval leaves and stubby green spikes of the common Broadleaf Plantain, Plantago major.

A flowering Broadleaf Plantain displays its distinctive footprint. (photo taken 09 28 2012)

Another relative in the Plantain family is, to my eye, one of the most attractive of the naturalized wildflowers. The bloom of this plant is neither colorful nor large, and it is not rare or secluded. What it does possess is the slender grace of its basic form, the geometry of its flowering, which combined provide the primary source of its beauty.

The species I praise so highly is the Ribwort Plantain, more commonly known as English Plantain, Plantago lanceolata.

The leaves of this perennial plant are, as its Latin name states, long, narrow, and pointed; a spike unlike its curvy broadleaf cousin. Clusters of these form a tight rosette that can be either prostrate or bushy, depending on the surrounding environment. The leaves tend to grow more thickly and upright in consistently moist areas.

The flowers top tall, smooth stalks that spread outward on a slightly curved trajectory. A brownish spike resembling an inverted sugar cone shoots out miniscule white stamens that look like a lit sparkler frozen in time.

The subtle, yet beautiful, bloom of the English Plantain is carried by the white stamens. (photo taken 09 25 2012)

The sight of one of these plants always reminds me of Albrecht Durer’s intimate watercolor: “Das Grosse Rasenstuck” (The Great Piece of Turf). The blooming English Plantain creates a pretty still life wherever it grows, the reason why I love this plant so, and why my lawn will always be left to nature.

A great piece of turf: English Plantain. (photo taken 09 11 2012)

–  rPs 09 28 2012

Postscript: view an image if “Das Grosse Rasenstuck” by following this link: http://www.artofeurope.com/durer/dur21.htm

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