Detail photos for this Artwork
I am delighted to offer this majestic and lyrically beautiful oil painting by Charles Blackman. Painted in circa 1979, “Flowers and Insects” is an impressively large oil that portrays a mysterious garden at night. Large scale garden and flower paintings are amongst Blackman’s most loved and admired works, with flowers a constant subject appearing in Blackman’s art over many decades.
“Flowers and Insects” is a well-known work that holds the distinction of appearing in “Charles Blackman: The Lost Domains”, a large and collectable book about his art. The book was written by Blackman’s close friend Nadine Amadio, a music critic and author who collaborated with Blackman on many creative projects.
The story of this painting begins in Blackman’s love of travel. Blackman lived and worked in many locations in Australia and overseas. In 1979 he travelled to locate images and inspiration for the “Lost Domains” book, leading him to Buderim on the Sunshine Coast where he rented a cottage and began to paint flowers, gardens, schoolgirls, boats & pelicans, and small moonlit river scenes.
It was most likely from this time, that this stunningly beautiful painting “Flowers and Insects” emerged. In 1980, whilst still retaining a home and studio in Sydney, Blackman decided to spend more time in Queensland. He bought land in Buderim with a small shack that he converted into a winter studio house, and discovered an old garden.
This “paradise” garden and the small rainforest on the land became the setting for Blackman’s art during the next few years. In 1980, “Charles Blackman: The Lost Domains” was published, including an illustration of “Flowers and Insects”. Blackman himself elaborated on the lure of Queensland in an interview: “I think that Queensland probably had the best influence on me as a person, its sunshine and its lightness and its colour and its friendly spirit probably helped me to flower as a personality in some way.”
“Flowers and Insects” is a delightful depiction of a garden at night bursting with a profusion of colourful flowers and insects exploring their secret perfumed world undisturbed by people. The creatures in the garden are enchanting to discover, one by one, whilst visually traversing the painting’s awesome scale and deep lush colours. The iridescent reds and yellows of the flowers are glorious and dramatic set against the dark contrast of midnight blue and black tones.
Blackman’s unique combination of techniques used in this painting, reflect his skill as a painter and printmaker. The striking composition has been created using layers and forms in both painted brushstrokes and stencilled images to build a complex and intriguing scene.
The layered surface sparks our curiosity to delve deeper into the garden, passing through the layers of brilliant flowers and leaves to find enchanting butterflies, cicadas, dragonflies, beetles, ants, lizards, snails, and a spider with its web laced over Blackman’s signature.
The appeal of Blackman’s work is without doubt his ability to portray enchanting images, but his works are often more than just beautiful paintings, because he also instils a quiet thrum and intensity to much of his work by evoking a more contemplative, dream-like atmosphere.
By choosing to depict the garden at night, Blackman evokes a powerful and contemplative sense of mystery. He takes us not only into the curious world within the garden, but also back to a time of innocence and imagination, to our childhoods when nature was a wondrous and dream-like place that we never tired to explore. “Flowers and Insects” is a perfect example of Blackman’s special quality of being able to realise a dream in paint. The great Australian poet Judith Wright wrote about Blackman’s art, saying: “His painting is not of the world of things, but of the world of our experience of them, in which they are changed from things to meanings.”
In “The Lost Domains”, Nadine Amadio wrote evocatively of a garden for Blackman as: “the domain he lost some time in his childhood and had been painting his way back to ever since”. “The garden images stem from many sources, real, remembered & imagined. They are not just gardens. They are flowers encircling a feeling or a secret atmosphere.”
“Flowers and Insects” represents a rare opportunity to acquire a well-documented and prestigious work by Blackman – an iconic work that holds the broad appeal and beauty of one of his most sought after and loved subjects, a garden. Additionally, The painting’s inclusion in “The Lost Domains” provides the painting with a desirable aspect of provenance.
I highly recommend a visit to my Art Studio to view this stunning work.