LA based artist Lauren Spencer King works in watercolor and sometimes glass sculpture. She decided to combine the two and paint on the glass window in front of The Standard, Hollywood. She painted this piece and contributed other works in conjunction with Lili Cuzor's installation in The Box and lobby of the hotel and the Claire Cottrell curated Book Stand, an art book store residency. Lauren's painting on the window depicts a healing bouquet and includes all plants she used in a flower remedy she was taking when she created the work: Star of Bethlehem, Olive, and Hornbeam. She said of the piece, "I am interested in the idea that a depiction could hold the same energy (and maybe even healing power) as the actual thing itself".
Lauren is currently working on a series of of paintings of the woods at night and has been pouring over flora and fauna pictures for inspiration. She shared some of her favorite nature images with the hope that they'll inspire you, too.
Charles Burchfield's The Sphinx and The Milkyway, 1946
Burchfield is a favorite of mine, his later large scale watercolors are spectacular, and capture the magic of nature and it's unseen electricity so well. My favorite among his paintings is this one, it resonates with me so much that I pulled the title and used it for my blog. There is something spooky and wonderful about this painting, I can almost feel the vibration of the night sky as it falls on the flowers in the landscape. I have also been thinking a lot about night time, the feeling of it and the colors of it. This painting makes me think of what Van Gogh said about the darkness of night, "One of the most beautiful things by the painters of this century has been the painting of DARKNESS that is still COLOR." This is something I think a lot about while working.
Silke Otto-Knapp's Garden (Moonlit), 2011
I adore the work of Otto-Knapp, her watercolors are so haunting and beautiful, particularly this moonlit scene. She has captured the abstractness of night, a time when nothing is as it seems, when shadows come alive, when what is real dissolves and becomes questionable. The moonlight revealing only what is transforming, and urging you to ask, "what lies in the darkness?".
Fantin Latour's A Basket of Roses, 1890
I think Latour is the most amazing painter of flowers... dare I say... ever. Seeing his work in person is really something special, if you ever spot one spend some time with it. I love to get really close and look at how the loose and almost abstract brush strokes so perfectly depict the softness and fragility of the petals, each one feeling as if it could drop to the table at the slightest encounter with your breath. I also love how each flower is painted differently, and of course that Peter Saville used this painting as the cover art to one of my favorite albums ever, New Order's Power, Corruption & Lies.
Jean-Honoré Fragonard's The Swing, 1777
I have had a long time love affair with Fragonard, and basically all Rococo art and decoration. But him in particular. One of the many things I am fascinated by in his work is how he depicts nature, how his landscapes are so sexually charged, erotic and fluid. How the trees mingle and morph into clouds, they are painted so similarly, only color separates the two. The countryside becomes an aphrodisiac. And, on a side note, as someone who is a fan of the color pink, I think he understood and used pink in a way no other artist has come close to since!
Henri Rousseau's Jaguar Attacking a Horse, 1910
Known for his depictions of the jungle, this French painter never actually stepped foot in one, he experienced it only through visits to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. This is one of my favorite paintings. There is something so playful and exotic and dream like about it. For me it captures the spirit of wild energy so perfectly. You can't tell if the two animals are having sex or attacking the other (like the title implies). I'm fascinated by the ambiguous space they are in: creation and death in one moment.
Henri Matisse's Palm Leaves, 1912
This was painted on Matisse's first trip to Morocco. I saw this painting for the first time this winter while at his show at the Met. I stood there for a long time. Something about it held me. I love a painting you can't put your finger on.