Aquilegia flabellata 'Nana Alba'. Watercolor and gouache on paper, 16 x 22
I love the tradition of botanical drawings, detailed portraits with small drawings to the side to show more closely intriguing features of the plant. These floral and botanical paintings by Marianne Perry Salas explore a range of perspectives on this idea of plant portraits, and are the fruits of an intense few years of gardening that often eclipsed the artist's time in her studio.
As she puts it, "This series is an attempt to make peace between a seductress — the act of gardening — and the erstwhile abandoned activity of painting."
Investigating the shared territory of the artist and the botanist's interest, she has painted some plants as traditional botanicals, as an engineer might draw the workings of a beloved machine. And other plants are painted in situ (as above) living in their cultivated or wild homes; a "live" still life, if you will.
Malva Parkallee. Watercolor,26 x 21
And others yet, hover somewhere between these poles. This orchid -- floating, isolated, its roots lifted from their soil covering --somehow feels more like a nude than a botanical painting.
Phalaenopsis 'Plantation Elegance'. Watercolor, 26.5 x 20.5
And the dear shallots, shown together, and yet alone, cast shadows as they rest in their papery skins, possibly on a chopping board about to fulfill savory duty.
Shallots. Watercolor,9.5 x 12.5
That the artist can create such a range of interpretations using watercolor (in my humble opinion, the most confounding and difficult of all painting media) is truly a feat. Hats off!
Hope everyone is planting their bulbs this weekend...
Inquiries? Please contact The First Street Gallery or the artist directly by email (please reference "Apartment Therapy"). The First Street Gallery is located at 526 West 26th Street, Suite 915 NYC, 646-336-8053.