Lately I’ve admired the work of Patricia Luppino, a botanical artist from New York. Her pencil and watercolor pieces capture nature at its most beautiful and vulnerable. She recently asked me for a portfolio critique where we moved into a lengthy discussion the motivation behind her stylistic interpretations. Here’s what she shared with me:
“I’m not certain that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but if it is, it seems that beauty may not always be in the beholder’s line of sight. As I hover in that invisible netherworld between middle and old age, with the specter of decrepitude ever looming, I’m saddened by obsession with youth and beauty. For what charitable cause, what grand idea, what contribution are these fortunate ageless few responsible? Can we once gaze past them at the craggy crone with the twisted spine and appreciate her wisdom, her grace, her spirit?
Contemptuous of youth and beauty in its many forms, I’m seldom moved by a stunning painting or a stunning flower. Does it really need to garner even more attention? Show me instead the gnarled root, the dried seed head, the buried bulb who all seem to call out ‘behold me, you will see, if you care to behold, that I am beautiful too.”
Since we experience four seasons on the East Coast of America, I used to crave seeing living plants in the depths of winter. However, with works by Pat Luppino and Kate Nessler, my need for green has greatly diminished, in its place is the beauty found in roots and sweeping fungus. It’s solitude, privacy and gracefulness speaking volumes, in its stillness there is so much movement. Beauty comes through these natural forms, forcing recognition and leaving lasting impressions.