Giving flowers is a gesture of caring—whether it's romantic love, remembrance, or just an attempt to bring a little sunshine into someone's day. Flowers from a florist can be dandy, but some of my favorites have been the handfuls of blossoms plucked from the backyard and proudly presented to me by one of my kids.
This time, I did the plucking—these delphiniums (or larkspur, a name I like better) are from a pot on my front porch. They're the July birth flower, and are symbolic of an open heart, according to the Victorians. As any fan of the Brontës or Jane Austen knows, the Victorians felt that it was improper to express strong emotions verbally, which led to the popularity of a whole coded language of flowers, also known as floriography. While a bellflower meant "I'm thinking of you", a yellow carnation meant "You disappoint me".
So polite, so proper.
Maybe it's the warm weather, but my last three posts have all been drawings in very cool colors—have you noticed? That's unusual for me: usually those blue and violet pencils are languishing in their jars while the warm colors (and the ever-present greens) are front and center. I also played around with a something I've seen in traditional botanical illustration - combining color with black-and-white drawing. The "plant hunters" of the Victorian era would sometimes color only part of their field drawing...just enough to accurately record the colors and get back in time for tea. So polite, so proper...sigh.
If you're into botanical illustration even the slightest little bit, you must check out this blog from the exhibit at the NY Botanical Garden before it wraps up at the end of this month. There are some really spectacular pieces!
Note to visitors from Illustration Friday: Thanks for stopping by in spite of my messed-up blurry thumbnail on the link viewer...that's what happens when I try to post late at night...