Erotic Lure of the Passion Flower

What is it about this passion flower that intrigues me so? Is it the fleshy petals and sepals that burst open with a violent pink. Maybe it’s the sturdy strands of the purple tiger-striped corona. This beautiful geometry is designed to attract and direct pollinators to the nectaries in the middle. The dressing of the bloom is erotic and frilly, showing off its need for reproduction.

 

I’m not as taken with the actual sex parts of the flower. It seems to me that the alien structure of the carpels and stamens needs to be dressed up in a fancy-pants target to attract the creatures required to help it reproduce.

passon-on-grass_triptych
Base image and two “foundlings” for “Passion On Grass.”

 

When I take pictures of passion flowers, I try to figure out how to capture a great image around this interior structure that I find so distracting. I found a solution in this case by capturing this freshly opened blossom in profile on my lawn.

passon-on-grass_merchandise

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Summer’s winding down with “Twig.”

Summer’s winding down with “Twig.”

 

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Yummy Vegetables

It’s been a little over half a year since I have started eating only plant based foods. Yes, that means I’m vegan. Most of my meals now start with fresh vegetables. So these pea pods were probably about to be be combined with some mushrooms for a tasty stir fry.

Base image for Sliced Pea Pods
Base image for Sliced Pea Pods

Look carefully and you will see my favorite santoku knife in the upper right corner. These snap peas were too beautiful to just eat, I wanted to make them into art too. So before they made it into the pan, they made it into my camera. Of course, from there, I spun them kaleidoscopically!

Sliced Pea Pod_animation from Karen Hochman Brown on Vimeo.

Sliced-Pea-Pod
Click on this image for more information on Sliced Pea Pods and how to purchase.

 

A Passion for Passion Flowers

What fun to work with a flower that already looks like it’s been spun around in a kaleidoscope. I have loved the passion flower since childhood. My grandparents had a large slab with a roof that they called the Summer House. The pillars that supported the roof were covered with passion flower vines. My younger me didn’t really remember the flowers. I was fascinated by the strange fruit that the flower produced. I recall them first looking like an egg, then aging into something akin in texture to a stale marshmallow. I called them Easter Egg Flowers.

Base image for Passiflora Indulgence
Base image for Passiflora Indulgence

I was reminded of the beauty and sensuality of the flower when I decided to grow the vine in my home garden. We had a large fence that would benefit from a clinging vine. The blooms as well as the spiraling tendrils have become subject to several of my artworks. Others include Passion On Grass, New Passion and Passion Tendril Vessel.

Passiflora Indulgence
Passiflora Indulgence

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Beach Walks

I grew up in Santa Barbara. There are many popular beaches with vast stretches of white sand. But I prefer to stay away from the crowd and find the stretches that are a more moody and desolate. The scene here is a small walk north from the lifeguard station at Arroyo Burro State Beach.  I figure the surrounding cliffs have collapse and left these sheets of layered rock down at sea level. Time has worn the edges. Oil seepage from deposits in the Santa Barbara channel give the scene a luminescence, even on an overcast day.

RockNSurf-levels_base
Base image for Rock-N-Surf

 

The resulting artwork is the first piece I created that wasn’t based on flowers. I had been working on this project for two years and had produced about 30 layered kaleidoscopes. It was my birthday and I was feeling like working on something different. The base image seemed to fit my mood for the day and I ended up with this dark yet glowing altered seascape.

Rock-N-Surf
Rock-N-Surf

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Matilija Inspiration

MatilijaPrairieInstallation_baseThe matilija poppy is a sun-loving native of Southern California. It’s large crepe paper blossom with a showy yellow puffball of stamens in its center give it the nickname of “fried egg plant.” The photograph that inspired “Matilija Prairie Installation” presents the delicate flower and furry seed pod against a brilliant blue sky.

MatilahaPoppywithSky800webI never go into my work with specific intentions. Each component is created on the fly, based on what I feel is needed for the current artwork. I find a photograph I love and then work within my process to find the pieces to assemble. This means taking the photograph into a software environment (U&I Software’s ArtMatic Designer) that I use to make the various reflections. I don’t know what the results will be when I begin to explore the parameters of the reflections. I find faces and insects; there might be seductive openings. I keep changing setting, looking more images that please me.

In this piece, I found an intriguing structure created by reflecting the seed pod. I thought it looked like the turn-key in an old windup toy or maybe nautical cleats. The white square structure felt like a stretched canvas, slightly bowed in at the edges, now held down by these cleats. Also holding down the canvas is the bottom layer that breaches the bounds of the white layer on top. The petal layers have a celebratory air, particularly when festooned with dots. They almost seem to jump of the surface. In the heart of the piece, the blue sky is used to balance with color and dimension.

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Backgrounds, again

Bromilliad_400wmThis stunning bromeliad blossom was a very exciting find. I knew the colors and textures would translate well with my process. I designed A Burst Of Bromeliad without a border and created shading to have  the piece appear to float directly on top of the paper.

Move forward a couple of years, I am now printing my work as dye infused metal prints and I felt that it was not a good base for a print without some kind of background. So I created a version with a border, but kept the white background.

But why stop there? I decided to try a third version, this time using a repeating design for the background. I find it fascinating that the same artwork can look so much different when put in a different environment. Which is your favorite?

Motif for printing on paper
Motif for printing on paper
Green border with white float
Green border with white float
Lavender border with fabric float
Lavender border with fabric float

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The difference is in the background

Passion-Tendril-Vessel
Passion Tendril Vessel
Early version of Passion Tendril Vessel.

I am always amazed at how what seems like a small change to a working image can transport it out of my “working” file and into my accepting it as a finished artwork. The piece Passion Tendril Vessel came together nice and easy. I had used a new technique to create the contoured edges of the main disk and loved the results. I had to battle a bit with the intensity of the tangle of vines that I used as my base image, but I was happy with the balance of the smooth spaces against the busyness of the vine.

Then I had to place my platter on a background and that’s where the fighting began. I always felt this was a dish of some sort and wanted to show it off like one might do for a fine porcelain plate. I fashioned clips from the vines and tied them into a simple background. It didn’t work the way I had wanted it to. I think I even lost the dish aspect; sometimes I’m too clever for my own good.

Back to the drawing board. After more false starts, I finally created the square themed background and was satisfied. The dark interior of the square helped set off the central motif. The vessel feels nested and safe in its new treasure box.

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Third time’s a charm at the Arboretum

Peace Lily Montage by Karen Hochman Brown
Peace Lily Montage by Karen Hochman Brown
A montage of images use to create Peace Lily Nouveau

The peace lily exudes calm and serenity.  Its starkly beautiful form and chaste simplicity easily flow into languid patterns.

At my third session creating artwork on site at the LA County Arboretum, the weather was gloomy. The diffused lighting allowed me to capture the delicate differences in the shades of white that cannot be captured when the lighting is bright.

I will return to the Arboretum on Saturday, June 4, 2016 (11:00 AM to 4:30 PM) for my fourth and final time making art there in conjunction with my exhibition,”Reflections in the Garden.” I will once again take up residence in the Gallery at the Arboretum Library, creating another artwork on site!

 

 

Stacking up an artwork – Goji Draco Fabrication

Goji-Draco-Fabrication

Enjoy this short animation that shows how the layers of Goji Draco Fabrication have been stacked to create the finished artwork. The first transition shows the image that was used as the base for all of the reflections.