The favorite flowers of my life: in my mother’s garden, what I grew in my own garden when I had one, the ones growing in parking lots—feeding bees and goldfinches, the ones by the side of the road, or hidden in the thick forest, the ones growing in the gardens of friends, the ones that look so fragile but are stronger than we can imagine. The tall bearded irises that have a scent like licorice. The patterns and colors and shapes that repeat like the constellations and are made of the same thing. The names and the lore and the bouquets and the symbolism. William Carlos Williams contemplating wild Queen Anne’s Lace. Theodore Roethke on the roof of the greenhouse. Basho’s heart breaking with every bloom under the moonlight. And the belief that I can still be surprised at any given moment by beauty and hope.
This painting represents this bursting feeling that starts at the beginning of the blooming season. Some things break through in the sketchy days of April, but May is when it all begins, and then continues through the last days of October. And my heart depends on it.