Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lost in a cloud of butterflies

Last summer, I purchased a book named "Gioconda " by British writer Lucille Turner, an excellent historical fiction of Leonardo da Vinci's life. I love the way the book opens inside the mind of the solitary boy Leonardo roaming the countryside, being fascinated by mechanics of butterflies, watching rivers to see exactly how water moves, collecting dead animals to dissect.
"A small boy knee deep in meadow flowers of humming violet, blazing white, is lost in a cloud of butterflies. He holds out his net,..., and waves it through the air, making eddies and currents but catching only sunlight. He flies this way and that, chasing wings that do not want to be caught, until finally he gives up, sits on a clump of moss and watches the stream instead...Time for another approach, he thinks. Let the butterfly come to you. He sits still and waits..."
Immediately after reading these sentences, I began to make a sketch of a small boy standing in the middle of a wild flower meadow and observing a lek of colorful butterflies dancing in the air. For some inexplicable reason I didn't feel like finishing the drawing and just left it undone until yesterday.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Language of flowers: Love-in-a-mist

Language of flowers:
Nigella (or Love-in-a-mist) - "You puzzle me."

Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) is one of my favorites.
Love-in-a-mist gets its evocative name from the way a tangle of ferny, fennel like foliage form a mist around the flowers. However, obviously not everyone felt about it in the same way, as it was also known as devil-in-a-bush and Jack-in-prison (???). Because of its misty foliage like a veil of secrecy, the flower is a symbol of perplexity. In some regions in Europe, women used to give Nigella as a refusal to their undesirable suitors, since the flower is also a symbol of unrequited love.

"Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them." - A. A. Milne