30 x 30 in | 76.2 x 76.2 cm
Delphinium and Triangular Ragwort often share clearings in the subalpine woods. They are able to share the sunshine equally because both are tall, topping out at about five feet (1.5 m). Together the two flowers make a stunning combination, the Blue-Purple flowers of the Tall Delphinium (Delphinium barbeyi) are almost a perfect complement to the butter yellow of the Triangular Ragwort (Senecio triangularis). In the shaded areas the Delphinium are deep purple but appear distinctly blue in the sun. I used Permanent Mauve for the shaded flowers and French Ultramarine Blue for those in the sun. The Ragwort flowers also shift in color from shade to sun, moving from an orange-yellow toward a lemon yellow, but the shift is less dramatic. The suffix “wort” in plants’ names sounds like a disease, but it simply means “plant” in Old English.
I painted this composition in my studio based on a number of pictures I had taken of the field. The pictures reminded me of the limitations of the camera compared to the human eye. Some of the pictures were focused on only one part of the field: the foreground, middle or the background, while the rest of the photo was blurred. Other photos were taken with adjustments that enabled the camera to get everything in focus, but the resulting image was flattened like wallpaper with all the flowers squished together. To our eyes, in contrast, everything we look at appears in focus at the same time because our eyes instantly refocus wherever we look. Also, we don’t see the field as flat wallpaper because we see in stereo. Nothing beats the human eye. As an artist, I attempted to mimic the experience of the human eye rather than the camera by painting all of the flowers in focus, and using heavy application of paint with the knife to reveal the depth.
I first painted this field of flowers it was titled “Meadow at the Edge of the Forest”. The meadow ended with a dark forest at the top of the painting. After looking at the painting from time to time I grew critical of its perspective. The dark forest seemed to crowd the field. I thought it might be better to change the perspective so that my back was to the forest and I was looking out onto the open field. So I repainted it. Now “Meadow at the Edge of the Forest” no longer exists. It has become “Tall Delphinium and Triangular Ragwort”.