This work, “healingirises”, is a large-scale triptych of three different views of the iris flower. In the late spring/early summer of 2002 I received a commission from the Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to paint a work as part of the collection they were acquiring for their new facility. The three canvases were painted with acrylic paint on stretched cotton. The left panel is 78” x 96”. The center panel is 90” x 120”. The right panel is 78” x 96”.
When I went to see the site, the facility, I prayed for an idea or a vision, because I new the committee would ask me for one. When they showed me this one particular large waiting area that had about a 40 foot long wall lit with a bank of north windows, I knew this was the space and sure enough they asked me what I “saw”. I saw three large canvases of irises in natural colors of blues, greens and purples. Iris flowers were a strong current interest of mine, but what was different about this piece was the colors were going to be more “natural” than invented, and the viewpoint approach would be different than I had been working.
The left canvas is a middle distance view of a garden of irises. Several iris flowers with their green stems are in the viewing area.
The philosophical statement I submitted to the Medical Center included “… these flower images are meant to be more than mere visual illusions or mimics of iris flowers – they are intended to be metaphors or doorways into visual, emotional, and sometimes even spiritual journeys into flowerscapes of peace, order, beauty, and unity. They are metaphors of the human condition, of the magnificent yet fragile nature of our humanity and our constant dependence on our Creator for inspiration, protection, nurturing, and restoration”.
The Kingdom of our Creator is described as right order (righteousness) peace and joy. I like to work with “precarious order” a dynamic balance between order on the one hand and chaos on the other. I believe when this is achieved I can produce a visually presented peace and impart the potential of inner peace to the viewer. In a world so full of outer turmoil, this quality of life is very valuable. When it is obtained it can result in great expression of joy, or joyful celebration.