It has been a long time since I have painted a still life with flowers. I am rather enjoying it. This is a bouquet of French lilacs from my yard. The lilac was my mother’s favorite flower and in fact I was named after a song from the 1940’s called “Jeannine I Dream of Lilac Time” . Whenever I see this flower or smell its special fragrance I think of my dear mother. This painting is for my daughter Kelli for her 51st birthday. We also gave her a lilac bush to plant so that she will always remember her Mom and Nanny. Flowers have histories. They not only give us pleasure but remind us of places and loved ones.
HISTORY: ” In ancient Greek mythology Pan, the god of forests and fields was hopelessly in love with a nymph named Syringa which is lilac’s botanical name. Lilacs can be white, violet, blue, lavender, pink, magenta, and purple. White lilacs symbolize purity and innocence. Violet lilacs symbolize spirituality. Blue lilacs symbolize happiness and tranquility. Magenta lilacs symbolize love and passion.
LILACS IN MUSIC: 1928 film “Lilac Time,” starring Colleen Moore and Gary Cooper had a popular recording from the movie. That was “Jeannine, I Dream of Lilac Time,” It was the films theme song, with the music composed by Nathaniel Shilkret and lyrics written by L. Wolfe Gilbert.
LILACS IN POETRY: “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” is a long poem written by Walt Whitman (1819–1892) in 1865. It was written as an elegy to the slain President Abraham Lincoln Whitman uses the symbol of the lilac, a star (venus) and a bird (hermit thrush)
When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.
Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.
O powerful western fallen star!
O shades of night—O moody, tearful night!
O great star disappear’d—O the black murk that hides the star!
O cruel hands that hold me powerless—O helpless soul of me!
O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul.
In the dooryard fronting an old farm-house near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac-bush tall-growing with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom rising delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle—and from this bush in the dooryard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig with its flower I break.
Stay safe everyone. slow down and smell the lilacs