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The February Florals, Part II: The What

In Part I, I explained why I was motivated to do this project, but I didn't talk at all about my subject matter. That's what this post is for.

So, why the flowers?

There are a few reasons, but none of them very inspiring; not at first. I knew I needed a project that would get me in the studio every single day in order to build momentum for the year, but I had no idea what it would be of or about. I just needed to paint. The most important thing was that I picked something, anything, and started.

I had this vase of black faux magnolias (actually a Saint Germaine carafe of black faux magnolias). They were a Halloween decoration, but I thought they were so pretty. On November 1st, I couldn’t bring myself to put them in the bin with the rest of my spooky décor, so they continued living on my bathroom counter. I chose them for this project because I liked them, they were there, and they wouldn’t wilt or die. It’s really as simple as that. It wasn’t until I’d already made several paintings that I realized how right that decision was.



I typically work from photography, and it had been years since I’d painted anything from life. Painting still lives requires razor-sharp focused attention, and there are more moving parts to it than painting from a photo. If you move your head, sit back or slouch forward, you are then painting from a different perspective and things will be at the wrong angle and in the wrong place. If your mind wanders, you make big mistakes of shape and proportion. Looking through the paintings now, the days on which my focus was lacking is evident to me. On those days I had to be forgiving and still show my work because this was about the process; not the result.

Another reason this choice of subject was perfect:

I’ve been wanting to incorporate florals in my work FOREVER, but-- this is embarrassing-- I was afraid to because I didn’t have experience painting botanicals. You have to do something in order to become experienced at it, Kimber. For a long time, I was too invulnerable and precious with my work to take that risk.


The end result of my February self-assignment was multifold. For starters, I made 29 paintings in 29 days. I proved my capacity for an excellent work-ethic. I grew as a painter. I learned more about color and even some new mediums. I overcame my fear of painting flowers (that I’m still embarrassed about... Channeling my inner Brene Brown telling you guys about it). I even sold a few of them right off the bat (you can see what’s still available on my website, kimberlyndrydenart.com/shop ).

And you know what? I think these paintings are sexy. They embody feminine sensuality and grace. The gold evokes holiness and spirit, harkening to precious iconography. Some of them are better than others (I won’t tell you which ones I don’t like because it’s very subjective and they might be your favorites), but some of them I’m really proud of. But, more than anything, I’m just proud that I did it.

Here’s to nourishing our creativity the way it does us.




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