An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of art & life ...

An ordinary person's thoughts on the complexities of life ... or just ramblings from the mind of a working Mum with far too little time to think!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Painting with Light

A good friend of mine is a florist. She creates the most wondrous bouquets and floral designs, and every now and again she calls to ask whether I require "any new resources to photograph," as she so eloquently puts it. We meet at a flower warehouse close to the city where most of the florists in the know go.

It is the most amazing place! Freezing, as all the flowers are stored in sub-zero conditions, but the colours and the varieties are incredible - it's like stepping into a Matisse painting. Each time I meet her there, there are different flowers, many of which I have never seen before, and I feel like a child in a candy store - like Alice in Wonderland!

Last Thursday was one of those times. The warehouse was filled with wonderful winter flowers, some of which I had not seen since my childhood in my grandmother's garden in Africa. There were even roses from Kenya - still perfect after their long journey to Australia! I left with armfuls of gorgeous striped tulips, bright poppies, red gold arum lilies, blue delphiniums, gold Kenyan roses and beautiful yellow irises. I could not wait to get back to my makeshift studio to start photographing!

As I work exclusively with natural light, my tiny photographic studio consists of a white waist-high bench top set against a long horizontal window fitted with opaque glass. The room is small and narrow, actually our walk-through dressing room between our bedroom and my office, but the soft, filtered light is perfect for shooting in daylight hours. It is where I do all of my indoor macro work.

Lately, I have been experimenting with using my macro lens and the ambient light to create brushstrokes of interweaving colour in my images, as in abstract paintings. I was inspired to 'paint with light' after listening to the piano and orchestral music of Claude Debussy. For me, Debussy was so much more than a musician. He painted with music. His works have the most beautiful colours woven through them and such incredible light and sensitivity.

Last Sunday, my daughter and I were privileged to see the wonderful violinist Joshua Bell in concert with the Academy of St Martin's in the Field Orchestra. Joshua Bell was mesmerising, as was the orchestra. The notes that emanated from his violin were so pure, so heavenly, so captivating, so emotional - almost like he was painting the sound of feelings with his music.

I would love to be able to achieve that level of feeling with my photography one day.
"There is not a single true work of art that has not in the end added to the inner freedom of each person who has known and loved it." ~ Albert Camus

All of the images in this blog were part of my 'painting with light' experimentation, and all were taken in my mini-studio with flowers from Thursday's visit to the flower warehouse. Most of the flowers are still fresh after five days!

No doubt, I will be spending quite a few more hours shut away with this unexpected treasure! And in the meantime, all the rooms are filled with fresh flowers and my house has the fragrance of a spring garden.


  1. Excellent Post! Each image is breathtaking!!

  2. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!