Spring Still Life

Have you ever stared at a painting only to find more and more little details you missed before? The floral works of Rachel Ruysch and Maria van Oosterwijck have always fascinated me with their rich colors, symbolism, and their ability to burst with life and a sense of specific seasons. Over the past few years, I've followed the work of photographer Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio and have been inspired by her ability to create still life sets out of everyday objects from her newly adopted life in Provence. Using seasonal fruit, vegetables, foraged leaves and flowers (and insects), as well as antique objects, Jamie creates and photographs vignettes that perfectly echo the Dutch paintings I love so much. Watching Jamie compose her still life photographs, I knew I had to also try to recreate the feel of my favorite paintings using flowers and vegetables to tell the story of the arrival of a very long awaited spring. Working with photographer Sarah Benner, catering company The Scarlett Runner, and The Fahnestock House's Shannon King to style and capture the perfect spring spread, we were able to highlight the bounty of the season while pushing me out of my comfort zone in palettes and arrangement construction. Local ranunculus, poppies, fritillary, daffodils, and tulips packed the arrangement to showcase spring flowers and mirror the flowers frequently seen in the painted arrangements. Unlike the wide and wild arrangements I'm accustomed to making for modern wedding clients, the arrangements shown in typical floral still life paintings tend to be built up instead of out and are precise and restrained in their form. This change of shape and lack of foliage to support the arrangement construction was a new experience for me, but I loved the feeling of painting with each bloom.

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