Photo: HIP/Art Resource, NY.
Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson for WSJ,
Floral Styling by Lindsey Taylor, Prop Styling by Nidia Cueva.
WSJ, April 11, 2016
Each Spring, trees appear to go from bare limbs to full flower to mature leaves faster than you can sing “Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting.” If you don’t pause to appreciate the landscape, you can miss the lime-green leaves furtively unfurling, the red haze of maple trees in bloom.
As I cruised up the parkway from Manhattan to my upstate life recently, the rolling vistas framed by trees in transition reminded me of the contemplative landscapes by German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. It seemed only right to choose his “Morning in the Mountains” (1823) as the jumping-off point for this month’s arrangement—to, if I could, capture the painting’s mossy greens and moody amethysts and the almost imperceptible shift from mountains to sky.
A black-brown earthenware vessel from my collection grounded my floral landscape. First, I used nandina branches—green with yellowing undersides—to establish a strong, undulating and horizontal form. I tucked in rosy pink heather to break up the greens and introduce a certain mistiness. Finally I nestled in two shades of lavender hyacinth in varying degrees of openness to mimic the tones and swells of the distant mountains; for the photo, a pale blue background served as sky. As always for this column, I challenged myself to look carefully but work quickly, to create something fresh that appears to come from the same world as the work of art but has its own personality.