Saturday, May 02, 2009

"comes flinging forms"


Every once in a while I like to torment myself by trying to paint coconut palms. Some watercolorists do the most lovely paintings of lightstruck coconut palms with dancing shadows; full of all my favorite colors--blue, purple, orange, green ...
I get confused especially by all the overlapping fronds. I think it's a subject that is best approached from either end of the spectrum of technique: either very carefully with planning and assessment as you go or completely freely, with expressive abandon. It is not a subject for the middle way, which has always been my way.

This is an intermediate stage, which, if I had developed it a little differently, might have been a good place to stop.

Time to stop now for a Whiskey Smash (recipe below), after another Wallace Stevens poem.

Nomad Exquisite

As the immense dew of Florida
Brings forth
The big-finned palm
And green vine angering for life,

As the immense dew of Florida
Brings forth hymn and hymn
From the beholder,
Beholding all these green sides
And gold sides of green sides,

And blessed mornings,
Meet for the eye of the young alligator,
And lightning colors
So, in me, comes flinging
Forms, flames, and the flakes of flames.

Wallace Stevens

And, for Derby Day, from a segment on last night's Rachael Maddow Show on MSNBC:

*Dale DeGroff original


1 1/2 ounces Maker's Mark Bourbon
1 ounce simple syrup
3 lemon pieces (cut a lemon in half and then quarter one of the halves, use three of the quarters)
5 mint leaves
Lemon wedge for garnish
1 mint sprig for garnish


Muddle the lemon pieces, mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a Boston shaker glass. Add the bourbon and shake well with ice. Strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wedge.

It's delicious--like a summer Manhattan, a Montauk, call it.
Mr. DeGroff's book, The Essential Cocktail, is available
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Charlene Brown said...

That's an interesting point you make about palms being a subject that must be approached either with much preplanning or none at all. But your middle way has produced a very impressive painting -- and a perfect title from the poem. Painters of one 'Untitled' aftr another miss the opportunity to enhance their work with a great title.

Barbra Joan said...

Laura, your coconut palm hits home as I live in Florida and have painted many palms, not always successfully I might add.! I think my best was just of the coconuts, a view from right under the tree before they turned brown.
Art Heart

Barbra Joan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
debwardart said...

Thanks for the "smash" recipe - when my Kentucky Colonel mint comes in I'll have to come back here and try it!
Oh yeah, the painting was pretty good too!!!! :-)

HeartFire said...

Love the painting, yummy colors.

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

The painting is just perfect. Love the poem and I could go for the smash, but I have to keep my head about me. Maybe just a taste of the Veuve Cliquot in the fridge. Your wonderful blog seems like a good reason to celebrate.

Take care,


RH Carpenter said...

Nothing wrong at all with the middle way, Laura :) and I think sometimes knowing when to stop - especially with things like coconut palms! - is part of the work. I usually miss the stopping point. Perhaps a Whiskey Smash and then paint? You'd either know when to quit or not get too involved in starting! ha ha

William Evertson said...

"Expressive abandon" reminds me of the story of Toju Nantembo who when painting a 26 foot long banner to honor a general suddenly kicked his brush (a five foot ceremonial affair) sending ink flying to the ceiling of the temple. Noted for his wild abandon as well as intake of sake he stated "I am the brush" Impressive take on a difficult subject- love your palette :)

julie king said...

i find both of your versions wonderful but i can see what you mean about the work in progress. isn't it hard to know when to stop??!! i always struggle with that with every piece i do.

take care!

Anonymous said...

I love the fresh feel of this painting. It works well. Thanks for posting and sharing.

Art with Liz said...

I love these palms that you've certainly done wonders with. Stunning colours.

Anonymous said...

You have done a great job with the palm. Ever since holidaying in Hawaii, I have wanted to try a watercolor with those lovely tropical colors, but haven't yet. Your colors are great.

Desiree's Designs said...

Beautiful and totally your own concept of palms! I love everything about it.