CITY of LIGHTS Series
Chrysanthemums grown in metropolitan gardens
In 1979, and the mid 1980's, I engaged in a journey to visit various Chrysanthemum growers in private gardens, firstly in Japan, where this national flower is known as the Kiku. Thereafter, in London's suburban Metroland, where I was born and raised. Here, the art works were inspired by John Betjeman's book of verse, A Few Late Chrysanthemums (1954).
Further of these rare beauties were gifted to me from horticulturists in Westminster, London and travelled back to the Wapping studio with me. The petals, in-curved, always caught the light, like satin buildings arranged as cities with each exquisitely formed petal located in perfect unity with the others. These hybrids touched my love of harmony and I continued the series in Venice, one late summer evening in 2000. I would paint a number on some of the petals, to correspond with the drawing, and keep track of their location.
Again, in 2016 in my studio, I used the monochrome work from 1985 as reference for larger pieces where the arrangement of petals, which I affectionately term the City of Lights, has found a place in my visual mythology as a personal narrative for optimism.
Coral G Guest