I’m just bursting with inspiration these days as a new muse has tickled my fancy. For any of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may already be familiar with my newest artistic passion: creating faces and images with flowers and plants. Here’s a peek:
It was an idea sparked by a friend and creative powerhouse Justina Blakeney who created the hashtag #facethefoliage on Instagram and who regularly shares her gorgeous creations and unique flare and design perspective with her many followers. Since then, the love and inspiration has spread and people all over the world are giving it a try and sharing their work through social media. While on one hand it feels as if this type of art is completely unique, I think it’s fair to say that nothing is exactly original. People and artists alike have been creating art with flowers and foliage for as long as we know. Italian painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo from the mid 16th Century is best known for creating imaginative portraits made entirely of fruits, vegetables, flowers, and more. Swiss artist Markus Raetz been creating faces and profiles from Eucalyptus leaves since the early 80’s. And now, it seems a whole new fad may be underway and I feel excited to be a part of it all.
Regardless of originality or hashtags, this creative adventure has really become a new love of mine. It has presented itself as a welcomed chance to stop and chill out for a minute. In the middle of all the lists and priorities and obligations of a working, pregnant mom still adjusting to a new home and country, I have found a haven in which to be and create. It involves wandering, meandering, and searching for plants, flowers, seeds, stems, pistols, leaves, and whatever other natural “paints” I can find for my palette. It means being on my own, in the quiet, while noticing certain colors or textures that catch my eye. Maybe I’ll see a flower and create a whole image off of it – the Vintage Swim Cap girl for example was completely inspired by the way a hydrangea has always looked like an old-school swim cap to me. Rainy season in the tropics inspired me to use closed-bud petals to recreate the raindrops that we have been greeted with here lately in Guatemala. A wild mushroom provoked me to create a man with a mustache which then also became my comb-over guy. Missing my beloved San Francisco obviously inspired by Golden Gate Bridge, and the shocking, alluring, tropical pinks around me made way to the Flamingo Fancy. Then, there are some days in which I just unload an armful of bounty onto my workspace and start manipulating everything without any plan at all. And that’s what I love, sometimes I even surprise myself.
The whole process usually takes me between 30-45 minutes (including collecting all the plants) but honestly, it brings me more peace of mind than pretty much anything else these days. I make my creations, I take a few photos with my iPhone, and then I let the wind carry my work away again. Many people have recommended ways in which to preserve my creations, horrified that I don’t save each piece. But truthfully, I think part of the freedom and beauty of it all includes not having anything to sit around or accumulate or be burdened with. My materials come from the earth and go right back again, easy and simple. And after it all, I feel calmer, happier, more inspired, and I have a cool photo to share.
I highly encourage you give it a try. Honestly, you’re going to love it…and when you do, will you share it with me? I would love to see what you come up with . I dare you to be uninspired by this. It’s free, it’s therapeutic, it’s playful, and it’s addictive. What do you have to lose?