Monday, October 31, 2011

Familiar Indian Flowers by Lena Lowis

Selina "Lena" Caroline Shakespear Lowis, my maternal great, great grandmother
Lithograph & description of Bignonia Venusta
Familiar Indian Flowers by Lena Lowis
London: M&N Hanhart Lithographers

   The brilliant appearance this creeper exhibits when in full blossom, in the months of February and March, cannot be described. The branches of tubular orange-coloured flowers, drooping amidst the bright, shining leaves, form a lovely spectacle.

   It requires a strong support, and will often climb up high trees. The lower stems have a bare and unsightly appearance, if the plant is allowed to get too straggling in its growth; it should, therefore, be severely pruned to keep it within bounds.

   The tubular throat is sometimes two inches long, while the lip is curved back, exposing the green stamens. There are some eight or ten flowers on each bunch, and when the entire plant is covered with these gorgeous heads of blossom, it presents a perfect blaze of colour, and is most ornamental.

   It is native of India, and may be seen in all parts. If allowed to trail on the ground it will send out roots at the joints of the leaves, forming young plants.

   The usual mode of propagation, however, is by cuttings, which take most readily. The young tendrils are of a pale, greenish colour, and very soft and pretty.

   I cannot find any flower of this name in Roxburgh, but his description of "Bignonia Grandiflora" so agrees with this that I think they must be identical. Many of the Bignoniaceae are large and handsome trees, but these I have never seen. Roxburgh mentions one, "Bignonia Undulata," which has the same coloured flowers as our specimen; but it is a large tree, with a trunk as thick as a man's thigh.

   There is another pretty variety, called by Ferminger "Bignonia Incarnata." It is almost white, with a deep lilac or purple inside the throat.

   The leaves of this specimen are heart-shaped, some being three or four inches long, smooth, and very numerous.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Watercolor by Selina Caroline Shakespear Lowis

This watercolor is by my maternal great, great grandmother, Selina "Lena" Caroline Shakespear Lowis who wrote and illustrated the book, Familiar Indian Flowers . She painted the above watercolor while she and  my great great grandfather, Lieutenant Colonel Ninian Lowis, were living in India. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Bental Staff Corps during the Indian Mutiny.

Hand-Painted plate by Selina Caroline Shakespear Lowis.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

American Scream

 American Scream
Mixed Media on Canvas
Endangered Species Series, 2008

SOLD, 2011
American Scream, Endangered Species Series, 2008  
SOLD, 2010
It's Always Been True
,  Endangered Species Series, 2008  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

San Francisco Art Institute, 2002-2003

With classmates at the beginning of  our MFA Program

Giving an art talk to be followed by a critique

Figure Emerging with Circle
Mixed Media on Paper, 2002

Study of Wave Trap Spiracles
Graphite on Paper, 2002

Mixed Media on Paper, 2003
Enjoying a night out on the town with fellow classmates

Mixed Media on Paper, 2003
My work hung and ready for an exhibit and critique
Relaxing with fellow artists at a North Beach cafe

Taking a quick break in my studio on the SFAI campus 

At work in my studio on an abstract painting

My studio at the San Francisco Art Institute

Teachers: Pegan Brooke, Stephanie Ellis, Jamie Brunson
Directed Study: Christoper Brown, Mark Perlman

Curvilinear Paintings and Drawings, 2003-2010

Diagnosis II: Crumbling Castles
Acrylic on Canvas, 2010

Augury I
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007

Gathering Clouds
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007
Dots, Lines, and Dashes
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007
Curvilinear with Bird
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007
Sleeping Woman
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007

Augury II
Mixed Media on Paper, 2007

Why this inclination towards the curvilinear in my work? After my parents passed away I began learning more about my ancestry and realized my Celtic roots might have something to do with it. Frank Delaney in The Celts describes Celtic art in the following, "the deepest basis of Celtic art grew from a primordial dependence upon the natural life experienced in the emergent Europe north of the Alps, east of, and along the Danube Valley - or, come to that, in the sloping fields of what is now Herfordshire, or Northumbria, or Wicklow. The early motifs showed great consistency of pattern, geometric, angular shapes, concentric circles, whorls, lozenges, revolving spirals, chevrons, cross-hatched repeating patterns - mechanical, auto-suggested means of filling a blank space on a pot. Later, the images of small creatures begin to materialise, swans, ducks horses: on the lid of a Hallstatt bucket, a goat, a sphinx, a lion, a the Greeks a spiral is a spiral and a face is a face and it is always clear where the one ends and the other begins, whereas the Celts 'see' the faces 'into' the spirals or tendrils."

Wikipedia paraphrase - Like nature itself, Celtic art abhorred a straight line, pushed organic influences - observed in trees, plants, water, the earth - to deliciously abstracted infinity. In Celtic art there is no beginning, no middle, no end as it ultimately becomes its own inner world through freedom of movement.