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Purple Coneflowers (Mixed Media Art)

This project was quite the experiment! We love burlap. We had been saving a remnant for some time when suddenly an inspiration hit: it would be the perfect texture backdrop for a natural tall grass prairie scene! And so it began. First, we painted a rough background of white acrylic to give some contrast for the flowers and to create a bit better surface to glue them on while keeping the rustic texture. This was a struggle and took many attempts to get right. After that, many different types of papers and fabrics were prepared and cut into petal and cone shapes in order to audition them for not only their aesthetic properties but their sheer willingness to withstand the construction process. Most of the delicates (like tissue papers and satin fabrics) did not make the cut. The prairie is its own jungle. Once we figured out what materials could actually be used, the composition phase began. There was a long process of moving and removing of pieces. Whole flowers, individual petals, the attitudes of one in relation to others, the connective tissue from top to bottom and side to side of the ‘canvas’. Lots of things had to be considered, and then reconsidered. The sea of purple was accented with some bold yellows. The wild field, at the foreground, was anchored by a bit of rustic ‘fencing’, while the flowers in the distance had faint stems sketched in lest they float off into outer space. Some flowers didn’t want to stay inside the lines and they spill over the edges of the burlap. Petals were cut, torn, painted, splattered and hollowed out. Thin fabric cones were jettisoned and replaced with thick leathers and felts to add appropriate heft. And gradually, piece by piece, it was all woven together, glued over and under and over again to create the final rhythm. Happy coneflowers, floating in the breeze.

This work measures 36” wide x 44” tall. Though it is unframed (other than the hanging rod at the top), this piece cannot be folded or rolled for shipping, as all of the coneflowers, made mainly of thick papers, would be destroyed in the process. It is pushing the maximum dimensions for traditional (non ‘freight’) shipping and thus shipping costs for this item are disproportionate to the purchase cost of the piece itself.

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