Art & Design Magazine

Flower Islands

By Susanroux

Flower Islands Foxglove Original oil painting  18x14" by Susan Roux
I made the last of my deliveries yesterday. Three sets of art to three different galleries. The day was picture perfect for a coastal delivery. The three hour drive to Blue Hill takes me through winding country roads eventually connecting north on Route 1. For those of you not familiar with this route, it begins in Florida and follows the coast all the way up to Maine. It's a lovely drive during off season, but can be a traffic nightmare at tourist time. Quaint shops with interesting names and creative signs stimulate my artistic juices. Even without stopping, reading the names and seeing original looking store fronts sends my mind dreaming. Interspersed are glimpses of the ocean always with islands jutting out and keeping the seascape interesting. I didn't think I'd be doing much plein air this year, but yesterday's drive awoke the desire.
Flower Islands
I stopped at a roadside garden shop. Color was overflowing! Did you know I have Monet syndrome? Not only do I love painting flowers, I keep creating more and more gardens around the house! I've been mixing annuals with perennials and the changing color show throughout the summer is the perfect haven for an artist to relax in. My burst of work is in the spring and with summer-like weather, planting is earlier than usual. There's a great rush of anticipation as I design my gardens. Like adding color to a canvas, I imagine which plants will be blooming together. It's like painting blindly. As the shapes grow, shadows are created and with it possibilities for wonderful compositions!
Flower Islands
I bought a few colorful annuals to place in unusual planters. I've been designing a new outdoor seating area with a great view of sunset. All my flower beds have curves, most being ameba shaped. I don't like straight edges in my landscape. I'm finding the negative space (lawn) as interesting and important as the flower beds themselves. When I think of the various shapes I've established, I'm reminded of all the islands making Maine's waterfront so spectacular. As you drive by, one island seems to be moving in front of another. It makes those rock hard planters covered in evergreens come to life! And so it is with my island flower beds. As you walk around, the flowers from one bed seem to move in front of another. I've always been attracted to that illusion of motion. I find it interesting that without consciously thinking about it, it's how I've designed my surroundings. 
Flower Islands
Everything is a composition. Colors, shadows and splashes of light. Whether painting or planting the journey is similar and the passion is present.
Do you have Monet syndrome too? Have you created flower islands? As an artist, where do you go to unwind?
Note: Foxglove was a little corner garden on Deer Isle. I painted it with one of my classes. It was included in the body of work I delivered to Blue Hill Bay Gallery. If you come to Maine this summer, it's a beautiful artsy coastal town to visit, only 30 minutes south of Bar Harbor. Do stop in and say hi to Peter.

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