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Hydrangeas: Artist's Statement

Barbara gave me her house for a week. Framing the house was a circle of color. Inside the circle were more circles. Inside each was another, and another.

Hydrangeas are irresistible. We are drawn to them naturally, without thinking. Their undulating rhythms, of soft blues and purples and pinks and golds and whites, reflected in the sunlight, are magic. We love them, we dont know why. They strike a chord in us, an appreciation, our need for obvious beauty. We see only the surface; it is all we need to see. It brings us pleasure.

The surface is where the eye starts. But beneath the surface there is a world of shadows, of dark spaces and lines and dappled light. Between, around, and through, strong short pale green stems of energy crisscross air, holding up the blossoms to show off their lush swirls.

If you look closely enough, framing the dense cover of thousands upon thousands of delicate petals are the leaves, dark, mottled, firm. We do not notice the leaves, there is too much above that grabs our attention, but it is the space between which shows us how to see, and what to see. It is the space between that intensifies the beauty.

It is a curious mix, this abundance, of surface and depth, of what lies on top and what lies hidden beneath, the tension, the interplay between the two, the complexity of the full picture. To me, it is a metaphor for the layers of reality.

Small soft petals of white and ultramarine,

magenta, lemon yellow, gold

encircle air into a ball

reflecting light.

Lush swirls of color form a dense cover above the darkness.

If you look closely enough

in the space between

the mystery and majesty of leaves pushing through the shadows


and quietly,

with great calm, and power,

intensify the beauty. -Karen Collidge

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