Such good news today, I heard that my painting, Wildflower, was selected for the Salon at the Triton Museum statewide 2-D competition by guest juror, Charlotte Eyerman, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Monterey Museum of Art! The exhibit will run April 16 – May 29, with a fabulous reception on April 22 from 6-8 pm.
I’m so delighted, not only because it’s on honor to be juried into this competitive show, but because I’m particularly proud of this piece and I think the story behind it is incredibly moving.
This painting was inspired by a photograph that a Facebook friend of mine, Aušra Štarka, had taken a few years back. It was of her father, Antanas Štarka, in Lithuania wearing a wreath of wildflowers on his head. I was amazed that all these flowers were ones that I had grown up with in Nova Scotia and the beauty of the image of this handsome man with his prophetic gesture stayed with me. When Aušra shared his passing, I expressed my condolences and also my wish to paint him one day and she told me the story behind the photo I could paraphrase it but she told it so eloquently,
“I am glad you like the portrait of my father with the wild flower wreath. The story is that I have dreamed of making that wreath of wildflowers from the fields of Lithuania for many years but when I would go back for a visit, I would get busy with other things and that idea would get delayed to the next year.. Year after year.. Or there would be no wildflowers.. So there it went. Until this summer. Because there were many wildflowers this year, on my last day before my flight back, I went near the river and gathered a bunch of wildflowers and created this wild looking wreath. My father was excited to be the first one to pose with it.. And that was the last thing I shared with my father.”
Aušra said that he was singing away, and that’s where his dramatic gesture comes from in the painting. I feel like he’s imparting something important to us, that father and daughter are both letting us know how important it is do what you love in life and to share it with the people you love. Thank you Aušra for so generously sharing all of this with me, with us!