Something Beautiful is a 2013 self-imposed initiative to find a visual feast for each day of the year.
Yes. I promised another Morris tapestry today — actually for several days. But as I start my task I rebel against my own plan. Throughout the day my mind keeps wandering back to questions about what makes Morris’ work so compelling. Why do his designs speak to me when I appreciate but do not connect with other great fabric works. I finally narrow the truth to two things. I love the warmth and sophisticated richness of Morris’ palette and the great love he shows for curvaceous line.
I find I’m easily distracted today, and thoughts of line, color — and, particularly, design has me thinking of a favorite painter whose work bridges Morris’ highly styled graphic design and the storytelling nature of painting. Toulouse Lautrec integrated flat shapes and a distinct graphic line to his work. Just as I am about to shift today’s image to Lautrec, my mind wanders back to Morris. I want to look again upon his work to better explain to myself what it is about his line and color that are so special.
I choose a pattern inspired by honeysuckle. The colors are organic and even complimentary hues have been shaded to be harmonious and dramatic simultaneously. The highly contrasting black and white baackground fern fronds are handled so skillfully in scale that they do not overpower the primary elements. This is superb understanding of artistic elements.
The black and white are clearly background in the entire piece but for two clusters of seeds seen on both sides of the large bloom centered at the bottom. Set against predominantly gold petals, the contrast is dramatic.
Exotic yet organic. Representational yet abstract. A simple subject in a complex setting.
The print is much more than beautiful and artistic. It is distinctly Morris.