Sunday, May 11, 2014

Feeling flowers

Do  you agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson that the earth laughs in flowers? I do.  Flowers are such an integral part of my existence; I could not imagine a world without them.  There are certain times of the year that I think about flowers more than others, and spring (so called, little evidence yet) in Newfoundland is one of those times. As I look out at a light dusting of snow today (yes, snow), I am happy I have beautiful tulips on my coffee table.

tulips coffee table Margaret Ryall
Happiness reflected
I can't get enough fresh flowers in my house, but my budget doesn't allow frequent trips to the florist resulting in long gaps between vibrant colour.  No deals in this city when it comes to flowers!  I constantly joke that if I won a million dollars I would have fresh flowers in every room of my house every day.   Yep, that would be the first change I would make. Not a very exciting option according to friends, but it would make me happy.

  Flowers also move me to paint.  I  go through cycles of painting florals and gardens, and several weeks ago when  I was  in total despair about the weather I went downstairs and painted a fantasy bouquet.  I had no reference, these are not identifiable flowers; they are a hybrid I dreamed up to represent the many flowers I like.

Feeling Flowers (2014) Margaret Ryall acrylic on cradled panel
Feeling Flowers (2014 ) Margaret Ryall
This work is a joyful  expression of my love for flowers. Painting helps me to bridge the seasonal gap between winter and spring while I wait for nature to turn green and colourful. Sometimes my work is the exact opposite of Feeling Flowers.  It can be close up, calculated, detailed - an invitation to the viewer to take a closer look at the world of plants.

Garden patterns 1 2010 Margaret Ryall acrylic red poppies
Garden Patterns I (2010) Margaret Ryall

Garden patterns II 2010 Margaret Ryall mixed media on cradled panel red poppies
Garden patterns II (2010) Margaret Ryall

Leyton Gallery of Fine Art 
 But all the paintings come from my deep love of flowers, a love born early as I lay face down in the meadow and smelled the buttercups.

 Red poppies are favourites because they are so brilliant and fragile. I am attracted to them in all their guises: in a garden, painted or as design motifs on household items.

 poppies vase accessories table

 I don't even mind a good fake poppy as an accent in decor.

 Where did all this poppy design love come from?

 Well, it started a long time ago with the first  Marimekko's poppy design released in  1964!  I was not very old when  I first saw  Finnish textile designer,Maija Isola  iconic unikko design  in a magazine in our local library.  A love affair began.

And now 50 years later, I am thinking about this same design for a duvet cover in my guest room.

 red poppies Marimekko duvet

  In many ways 2014 is the year of the poppy because I just received two metres of Marimekko fabric from my daughter . Then my sister got in on the act and made me 12 dinner napkins from the fabric. A family affair for sure.

 black poppies Marimekko napkins
From tulips in the flesh,  fantasy flowers, poppies and wherever your heart desires if you feel flowers.
I will end as I began, with a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson...
" Flowers.... are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty out values all the utilities of the world".  

Sometimes you get to combine both !  
Happy Mother's Day 2014.


  1. Thank you for posting about Feeling flowers.

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  2. Oh I love flowers too and that poppy bedspread is beautiful. That would make me happy to wake up to. I've not had much luck with gardening but I'm learning maybe this year will be different. I also hear you on the price of flowers at the florist but costco has great bouquets for twenty bucks! Those paintings are beautiful!

  3. Yes Lesley, Costco is my go to source for flowers. They are reasonably priced and usually stay fresh.


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