Sometimes I see a flower on a street and snap a picture and paint it later. Sometimes I snap the flower, put it in a vase and paint it. Sometimes I drag my easel to the flower and paint outside. But there are times, when painting comes into existence and I don’t even know how.
I had this photo I snapped while literally running after my husband in one Italian village this past summer. I didn’t even stop to look at the pots. Because he was strolling, and I kept stopping at every flower, gate, old window etc. He was annoyed. I had to move if I wanted to remain married.
So during this late and cold spring in Toronto I was flipping through my photos, looking for some inspiration when I came across this photo. “What is that? Is that how they grow stuff?” Half the plants looked kind of dead. Where those steps even lead? There was no gate or anything on top of them. That mystery mesmerized me. I kept mentally coming back to this photo and thinking about those Italians until one day it occurred to me: “Maybe that’s how they are!” They take something that was there, do a little something to it and leave it to almighty Nature and go drink wine or something. They do seem very relaxed when you fly over there from North America. Clearly those pots were put there and abandoned. Yet that beautiful chaos of plants and decay worked very well to my liking. Nature took its course and made everything better and Italians didn’t mind.
So I painted it.
While painting I accidentally “fixed” a lot of things in that scene. The angle, tidied up that plant chaos somewhat, brightened up colour of those pots… When I look at the painting vs photo one part of me thinks “you let a this woman into a scene she will tidy up and make it look shiny and ready to sell”. Did I totally ripped this scene off its rustic charm? Another part of me says “Maybe you just made it look prettier and more appealing…” Which one do you think it is? I honestly don’t know. What I do know though is that I couldn’t help it. So when an artist says “My paintings come out of my soul” or “my paintings are me” or something like that, believe them, because I really can’t control these things. My love for order and taking care of things didn’t allow me to depict the beautiful chaos, but made me clean up and polish it in the painting.
End of the day, no matter what I think I’m going to paint, I will paint exactly what’s in my heart in that moment.