Solandras and still life
Solandra flowers are large and bold and make great still life subjects. I have gathered them for painting a number of times over the years, until one day, one stem struck roots while it was being painted. (A painting can take more than a week and the stem might have sat in the vase even afterwards.) So now I have the plant growing in my garden. It is a bossy plant, a scrambler that will soon take over all the garden if it’s not trimmed back. It’s poisonous, so no bugs eat it and therefore it is easy to manage and reliable. Each year it produces the distinctive, chalice-shaped flowers that earn its keep. Not that I paint it every year, usually there are other painting subjects that are waiting for my attention.
The name solandra
Solandras are named after Daniel Solander who sailed with Captain Cook. He wouldn’t have spotted the plant in Queensland though, it is a native of central America. However, it is well suited to the sub tropical climate of Brisbane and is seen in flower here in August each year.
Solandras are dramatic
Solandras are dramatic with their distinctive purple stripes on a yellow flower that darkens to mustard as it ages. Dramatic also with their overpowering smell. When the solandras are set up for still life, their distinctive odour fills not just the studio, but the whole house!
My next exhibition of paintings will be held at the Metcalfe Gallery, Brisbane institute of Art, from 27th August to the 8th September, 2021. Please send me a note and I’ll email you an invitation two weeks before the next exhibition.