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For Lime Tree Gallery’s upcoming exhibition ‘Every Kind of People’ I created two small new paintings. I want to tell you about one of them today. It is called Tales of Bees and Flowers, and it is a small oil painting of a lady with a floral crown on her head.

When I created this painting I had echoes of Giuseppe Arcimboldo in my head, but I made sure not to look up any of his images as I did not want to fill my mind with his work and jeopardise my own ideas. I just kept the idea in the back of my mind. Other ideas that shaped this painting were adventure stories such as Tolkien’s The Lord of Rings, from which I have also chosen the title of this painting. 

He told them tales of bees and flowers, the ways of trees, and the strange creatures of the Forest, about the evil things and the good things, things friendly and things unfriendly, cruel things and kind things, and secrets hidden under brambles.
― J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

The painting shows a profile portrait of a woman wearing a crown of flowers and leaves. The crown suggests a mythical story, but something is amiss. The flowers don’t look real. They look as if they are made of felt. And yes, they are. A small needle on the woman’s shoulder confirms it. In this painting (as in its companion piece) there are multiple narratives at work: myths and fairies, as well as the craft of felt making. Many artists and crafts-men and women create worlds of hope and dreams, of adventure and fairytales. These worlds remind me how amazing stories are, how much they can give us warning as well as hope, how they can provide a link to our past as well as our future. 

The model for this painting was felt maker Fi Harris (check out her Facebook page) whom I met at a local craft fair. I was taken by her creations but most of all by the wonderfully evocative head crown she was wearing.  I have taken her and the crown as the inspiration for my piece.

You can watch a video showing part of the painting process:

Sophie Ploeg, oil painting

Sophie Ploeg, Tales of Bees and Flowers, oil on linen on board, 30x24cm

Please contact the gallery or me if you are interested in owning this piece and having a little bit piece of fairytale on your wall. 

The exhibition Every Kind of People opens at Lime Tree Gallery on 24 January 2019 and runs until 26 February. 

Lime Tree Gallery, 84 Hotwell Road, Bristol, BS8 4UB. Tel: 0117 9292527. email: [email protected], web: www.limetreegallery.com 

About the author

Sophie is an artist, art historian, tutor, author and blogger. She writes on oil and pastel painting, art history and the life of an artist. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace.

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