Thou liv’st with less ambitious aim,
Yet hast not gone without thy fame;
Thou art indeed by many a claim
The Poet’s darling.

-William Wordsworth, To the Daisy

Daisies in Celadon, 2017, oil on board, 17 x 28cm

Ginger coloured daisies from the local market, painted for an Aunt who does not know it yet. This was set up in natural light, so was executed over several days, whenever the sun was right. The background is a taffeta shot-silk prop, not my real curtains. I try not to notice, but the curtains in my house are not attractive. They are of the beige and bone faux-cement-textured, partial-block-out, who-even-looks-at-the-curtains-anyway variety. They’ve been here since we arrived, and the first time I painted them was probably the last, unless I develop supernatural painting skills, like Sorolla or Fra Angelico. Nevermind, artist’s may lack the funds to renovate window fittings, but we have highly developed visual filtering skills. And props.

These humble daisies lit by daylight are doing, I hope, what daisies do best, offering, in the words of Wordsworth: “The homely sympathy that heeds/ the common life“.

For interested readers, some progress shots showing some minor adjustments, camera failure, and lens-flare:

Daisies in Celadon underpainting

There’s actually an extra reel of thread in there, behind the grey one. It moved about a bit before I decided it was not wanted.

Daisies in Celadon in progress

Wordsworth really liked daisies. He wrote a second poem in their honour, which I provide in its entirety below because I couldn’t pick a favourite verse to sample:

With little here to do or see
Of things that in the great world be,
Daisy! again I talk to thee,
For thou art worthy,
Thou unassuming Common-place
Of Nature, with that homely face,
And yet with something of a grace,
Which Love makes for thee!

 

Oft on the dappled turf at ease
I sit, and play with similies,
Loose types of things through all degrees,
Thoughts of thy raising:
And many a fond and idle name
I give to thee, for praise or blame,
As is the humour of the game,
While I am gazing.

 

A nun demure of lowly port;
Or sprightly maiden, of Love’s court,
In thy simplicity the sport
Of all temptations;
A queen in crown of rubies drest;
A starveling in a scanty vest;
Are all, as seems to suit thee best,
Thy appellations.

 

A little cyclops, with one eye
Staring to threaten and defy,
That thought comes next–and instantly
The freak is over,
The shape will vanish–and behold
A silver shield with boss of gold,
That spreads itself, some faery bold
In fight to cover!

 

I see thee glittering from afar–
And then thou art a pretty star;
Not quite so fair as many are
In heaven above thee!
Yet like a star, with glittering crest,
Self-poised in air thou seem’st to rest;–
May peace come never to his nest,
Who shall reprove thee!

 

Bright ‘Flower’! for by that name at last,
When all my reveries are past,
I call thee, and to that cleave fast,
Sweet silent creature!
That breath’st with me in sun and air,
Do thou, as thou art wont, repair
My heart with gladness, and a share
Of thy meek nature!

– William Wordsworth, To The Same Flower (Second Poem)