With this series, Beauty Beyond The Fragrance, I wanted to capture a moment in time that goes beyond the sense of smell. As humans, our olfactory senses tend to outweigh our optical senses. I remember as a child running around my grandmother’s “Old Fashioned Rose Bush” burying my nose into rose after rose. The scent was so intoxicating that it captured my attention for hours on end. Decades later I can still detect that scent whenever I am anywhere near one of those rose bushes; I don’t even have to see it. However, other than the fact that the flowers were pink with an abundance of petals on them, I really don’t remember the intricacies of them.
My process begins with photographing the flower. I move around the flower capturing it from every angle. When looking through these photos I'm searching for correct angles, shadows and color intensity. I look for the contrasts in color caused by lights and shadows cast by the different parts of the flower. These contrasts aren’t visible unless you get up close and personal with the flowers. I also look to see how the different lines and curves of the flower parts play off one another. When I choose to crop a flower it is because there is a very specific area that I want to share with the viewers. I begin by sketching the chosen scene on either stretched linen or stretched canvas. I then apply a thin layer of each area’s basic color with thinned oil paint. Once dry, I begin painting in layers, adding more values with each layer. My textures are mainly implied because I prefer to paint with smooth buttery oil paint using controlled strokes. The paintings in this series range in sizes from 12” x 16” to a 30” x 40”.
Yellow Iris brings the viewer’s attention to the inner workings of the throat area. This is the magnet-like trap that lures in the pollinators that walk across the anthers laden in pollen then inadvertently carry it to the sticky open stigma of another flower where it travels down into the ovaries to begin a new life cycle. The veins, like the tributaries of a river, spill out from within. Striated Roses I chose not to crop because I wanted the viewer to experience the differences in all the velvety petals. To see how they emerge from the center of the flower to snuggle into areas left by previously emerged petals. I wanted the viewer to experience how the new emerging petals help the previous petals bend and curve to create a delicate intertwining of luscious deep reds contrasted with a bright iridescent white.
In Beauty Beyond the Fragrance, I want to inspire the viewer to go beyond their sense of smell; to actually get up close and personal with the flowers they encounter during their daily routines. I want them to count the petals of a flower, to see the beautiful veining that spills out onto its petals, to really study the center of the flower where pollination takes place and the life of the flower begins.
Rhiannon C. Geraughty