Detroit Flower Week

I am excited to head to Motor City this week for Detroit Flower week to teach a 3 hour master class on Composition and Floral Arrangements. Here’s a sneak peak at what’s in store for you this Thursday.  I will be discussing vessels and how to choose the right container for your arrangement. I like opaque, unique vases and containers that have a ton of personality and that aren’t easily recognizable. I will also be demonstrating the importance of texture, shape, and movement. Every component of a flower arrangement should strengthen the overall composition and look of your still life.

This time of year is a gift to all floral enthusiasts. It’s Fall! So we are going to celebrate and focus on seasonal and locally farmed and foraged flowers, plant life and fruit.  We will be creating 5 different arrangements with one central urn overflowing with plum colored dahlias, chocolate sunflowers and chrysanthemum, all in season and in their full glory. The smaller companion arrangements will be filled with geranium leaf, serra cenia, gleaming persimmon, juicy apples and black peppers. Keeping in mind that the smaller arrangements are like a great supporting cast, their beauty and placement are just as crucial to the overall success of the composition as the larger central urn.

My work is predominately inspired by Dutch and Italian paintings. Sumptuous with a little grit thrown in. Moody, masculine, a little odd, robust and dark but always with a hint of optimism in the air. Kind of like how I imagine the spirit of Detroit to be.

Wild Beasts

Fauvism, the first twentieth century movement in modern art was originally spear headed by Van Gogh, Gaugin, Cezanne and Matisse. An art critic named the crazy lot of them The Fauves, which translates to “The Wild Beasts”, presumably because the paintings they were making during this time used intense and unorthodox color choices as a means to articulate light and space. They were also using these mind blowing color combinations, as a vehicle to communicate their emotional states.

What I love about Fauvist painters is their unapologetic and radical use of color. One of the major contributions to modern art was how Fauvist painters separated color from its descriptive, representational purpose and allowed it to exist on the canvas as an independent element. Color could evoke a mood, illicit a strong emotional response to nature in a totally new way because the colors chosen didn’t necessarily coincide with what we know to be true in the natural world. I love this masterful and playful way of treating color. I use it in my own work, choosing colors that one wouldn’t think go together or flipping seasons on their head and using elements found in nature in an unnatural way.

My master class at the Flower School of New York on Thursday October 5th is inspired by Fauvist Art. I will be using cactus dahlias, pom pom dahlias, dinner plate dahlias in shades of melon, saffron, flame and magenta. Paired with black basil, gnarled and glossy peppers and coleus foliage to add texture and contrast. I am excited for this class because the Fauvism principles were to conjure up an emotional response to nature and to, above all else, value and respect individual expression. Principles that I always keep in mind when working on my own arrangements.