Painting Pre Spring
“I remember a certain rawness to the vast Arizona landscape, yet it has an almost dreamlike quality because of the soft and neutral colours. There is a real sense of adventure and freedom about the place.”
The trip may have been years ago, but the memory of Arizona’s epic desert terrain remained etched in Matthew’s mind, ready to convey to the studio as the starting point for spring. The arid setting’s cacti and burnished sunset shades permeate each look, and the studio strove for a hyper-real likeness of the desert flowers. The scientific intricacy of photographer Karl Blossfeldt (1865–1932) inspired the team – his work captured an unprecedented magnified detail in flowers, with his groundbreaking camera that could magnify his subject by up to 30 times. Blossfeldt commented, “My botanical documents should reawaken a sense of nature, point to its teeming richness of form.” Reverting to paintbrush, pencil and palette, the studio took a similar aim, and spent hours perfecting the spike of a cacti or the colour of a petal in their hand-painted prints. Florals for spring may be an age-old fashion adage, but the seductively sinister cacti make a modern change from the blossoming bouquets of an English Country Garden. In another modern move, palm leaves are stripped back to their silhouettes in the botanical print, then played up in colour that would stand out even against the clay-red rugged mountains outside Phoenix. After winter’s cool climes of the Northern Lights, the wanderlust continues. Where next?