The meaning of flowers and plants

Since ancient times flowers are associated with that life and both beauty are short-lived. The flowers of fruit trees as preliminary stage for the growth of fruit and still lifes with flower as Vanitas themes shows the transformations of life. Admiring, germinating, growing and imagining flowers gives me strength because through this way I try to defy time and leave an impression that can be looked at for a long time.I have described a number of flower types that regularly appear in my work as an important source of inspiration. 
The flowing floating branches and wisps of seaweed in the lagoon, some with their roots attached to the side of the shore or others floating with the current of the water, were one of my source for inspiration to ‘The waters of Venice’. The curling, spiraling, circulating and tossing motions of the seaweed reminded me of the threat of rising sea levels around the city.

Passiflora or Passionflower

This flower fascinates me the most because of its name and in my view has an extraterrestrial shape and with the odd numbers namely in the 3 pistils, 5 petals and 10 leaves in the underlying foliage. 3 / 5 /10. In numerology, these numbers have a special meaning. The 3 for the trinity, artistic energy and pyramid shape, the 5 for courage and personal freedom and the 10 for end of a cycle and completion. There are 500 known species and this flower has its origin in south America and dicovered in the 16e century. The plant is also a medicinal plant for the heart to calm it down. In my work, this calming effect of this flower is far from visible and rather reversed.
Spanish missionaries saw in the passion flower the crucifixion story of Jesus Christ. In my own way I experience it as a spiritual flower and that is in addition to the odd numbers also in the color scheme: the deep black, light yellow, purple tones and deep red. And in 2015 I grew this plant in our courtyard garden for a year. The interpretation of the flower depends on the content of my work some in more realistic form or more in abstraction.
Datura or Trumpet Flower 

In my new series of this year 'The Singing Bells' I was inspired by the Datura plant, also called Trumpet plant or Thorn apple. I can remember when I was in art school reading books by Carlos Castaneda, the lessons of Don Juan, which described the Datura and the spiritual journey of this American writer where the plant is used as a drug in Mexico and induces hallucinations and can be fatal if misused due to toxicity. But this under the wise lessons of the Mexican wizard Don Juan Matus. It fascinated me, but also that so much beauty can be so dangerous and this stayed in my subconscious for years. 
Through my many walks in the Amsterdam Amstelpark, I found the Datura at the Orangerie of that park. And even in 2017 found a beautiful Trumpet plant at the front of a house in Amsterdam. I used several photos of this plant later as a source of inspiration for my recently new series The Singing Bells. Using the spiritual value and the trumpet-like overwhelming beautiful shape that evokes a positive charge in me, I first need a certain emotional distance through time to give it my own meaning. Prior to the pastel painting 'The Pink Bells', it took 5 years to reach that distance.
We have a large communal indoor garden in Amsterdam that I supervise and take care of together with the garden specialists. Over the years I have grown more and more hollyhocks by first germinating them on my balcony in small pots and then into  the garden. Each hollyhock has about 40 seeds for each finished flower bud as stock for new growth. Just calculate how many seeds 1 plant can produce because infact that nature is very generous in spreading new life and that gives hope. The first hollyhocks, about 6 years ago, grew up to 3 meters high. I took pictures of it and incorporated it into my pastel paintings

Besides the Rose the Tulip having the same symbol of Love but also the vanity of earthly things. Turkish traders brought from Persia the Tulip in the 16th century to Europe. By the start of the 17e century in Holland the Tulip enjoyed great popularity and some where rare and therefore very expensive. The success of the flowers was so great having speculations on the colors of the new bulbs that it became winning and losing of large sums of money in the proces. An all out mania until 1637 when the market collapsed. Even the Estates General wasn’t able to stem the financial panic. Because of the ‘costly’ beauty of the Tulip it appears in many Vanitas paintings.
In addition to the described flower species, I have a preference for 'wild species' that grow on the roadside or in meadows where I took a lot of pictures of.


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Inspired by the Tulip 
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inspired by the passion flower

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