The day after my mother died six years ago on 15 April 2010, my brother Des photographed this orange tulip in her garden. So when I was looking for close-up photographs of tulips for the tulip project, this one really resonated with me. Mom was a very gentle artistic woman, born in Bridport, Dorset in 1923, lived in South Africa for 56 years and returned ‘home’ aged 80, after my father died. The photo below was taken when she was a Wren and in love with the handsome Dutch sailor – my father. They emigrated to South Africa in 1947.
Back to the tulip project: I am very excited to be a resident artist in the U-care charity tent at Art in Action 2016. Art in Action supports a charity every year and this year it is UCARE. UCARE is the urology cancer research project with a tulip emblem to suggest the U in the logo. I have been exploring a way to paint tulips in a small format in oils at AinA, but my first task was to create a large oil painting which will be part of the charity auction. Artists remain anonymous until afterwards, so, sorry, you can’t see that one yet!
At AinA I will do 15cm x 15cm paintings. The tulip season will be over and this means working from photographs and close-ups appealed to me the most. I will be doing the tulips realistically, but in each painting will explore some or other aspect, dramatic lighting (Tulip for Mum), patterned backgrounds, metallic or gold leaf backgrounds (Tulip on Silver) or heavy impasto brushstrokes.
My brother Des Vlietstra, a professional photographer, is happy to collaborate with me by taking lots of photos now while tulips are available in Australia where he lives. Luckily his wife Caroline adores tulips, so nothing will go to waste! Thank you Des!