You’ve heard of March Madness. Now there’s Magnolia Madness. I’ve taken numerous shots of these beautiful and ancient flowers recently and present them here for your enjoyment. If you’re interested in their history and botanic information Wikipedia has a good article about them.
Those of you who know me, or are familiar with my photographs, know that one of my favorite flowers is the calla or more commonly known as the calla lily. (Botanical name is Zantedeschia) It’s not actually a lily which is why they are often referred to as “callas.”
I’ve been drawn to the elegance of these flowers for some time and have shot many photos of them. Here are a few of my calla photographs:
I hadn’t dragged out my light box in a long time. Finally on Sunday I admitted to myself that my work was getting stale, and I was taking the same photograph over and over. Hmm…why not try my light box again? It lives in a corner in my garage, and takes a bit of effort to set it up, I somehow summoned the energy to bring it inside, cut some fast-fading begonias, and came up with a few good shots.
Like the giant redwoods that begin from a small cone, begonias germinate from dust-fine seeds that grow into plants that can produce huge blossoms. Most gardeners, however, begin with tubers rather than seeds.
There are 1,500 named species of begonias that come in every color except blue. The dark green leaves provide a striking background for the flowers. I’m lucky enough to live in a cool, wet climate that is perfect for growing them. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens has a large collection that I have photographed for several years, and many of those images are on my Happiness Cards.
I regret that I’m not more knowledgeable about the names. Many plants at the botanical gardens have only descriptive tags. I’m not very interested in the names for myself, but I know some of my readers would like some identification.
This photograph was published in a book a few years ago. I had not indicated which was the top of the photo, and it was printed upside down with the caption, “Into the Heart of Mystery.” I hadn’t realized how much it resembles a heart until I saw it in the book.
Where have I heard that before? Men have been benefiting from women’s talents and efforts for centuries. One example that has come to light in the last 20 to 30 years is the lack of recognition for the women floral painters and artists of the 18th and 19th centuries.
Because upper class women in Western Europe, the colonies and later the US, were expected to stay at home but had ample household help, they needed something to do with their time. Many were taught to draw and paint, and frequently their subjects were drawn from the botanical world. The work of these women is a testament to the talents and skills, but until very recently none of their work has ever been shown in a large public exhibit, and it was ignored or dismissed in their time.
I was recently given a book, Women of Flowers by Jack Kramer (Published in 1996) that is one of the first public attempts to right that wrong. Kramer tells the stories of many remarkable women who produced beautiful paintings and drawings but were unrecognized in their day. Often the female artists signed their name, “Anonymous,” or left off any signature. Worse still, men frequently took credit for the prints or paintings done by women.
As I was looking for some examples of work by Victorian women I Googled, “Victorian women floral painters,” and was shocked when Van Gogh’s Sunflowers was included in one group. I love that painting, but it surely proves the point. I finally gave up on trying to find examples on the internet so took some shots from the book, Women of Flowers by Jack Kramer. I’m not set up to photograph from books so the reproductions are poor, but it allows you to get an idea of the quality of the work.
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one leave without feeling happier.”
Welcome to Happiness Cards! Blogging is a new venture for me, and I hardly know where to start. Maybe I should begin with a bit about who I am and what I do. I’m an 83 year old photographer and maker of Happiness Cards. I guess my age isn’t relevant until you consider the challenge I have when doing everything digitally.
When I was growing up things were very different: dial phones that were attached to the wall, no cell phones ; radios instead of TV; Monopoly and tiddley-winks instead of games on a digital platform; hours of playing outside and permission to bike all over town; and certainly no computers. I was in college before my family got a TV, and we were among the first in our neighborhood to have one. You get the idea. A very different world.
I’m not suggesting the world I grew up in was better. I love the things I can do with a computer (until it malfunctions) and with my digital cameras. But often I feel as if I’m running to catch up with the latest Facebook changes, software developments, platforms and things I don’t even know the names for. But it’s been said that if you aren’t learning you aren’t living, so here’s to life!
With this blog, I hope to inspire, entertain, educate, and now and then challenge you. I also want to share Happiness Cards and show you how you can use them to make the world a happier place. I’m looking forward to a wonderful adventure with you. Connie