Golden Hour

During the golden hour, which in warmer months is just after sunrise or before the sun sets, the light is more diffused and reddish. This warm, soft and diffused light makes it the perfect time to photograph plants and flowers on warm summer evenings and mornings. My artwork and photography over the past weeks is full of the light of the golden hour.

In a sombre twist, the phrase is also used in emergency medicine to describe the critical time period after a serious injury when medical help can save a person’s life. The pandemic has stretched and stressed this capacity in the countries fortunate enough to have emergency medical care. Here in Aotearoa healthcare workers are now facing this terrible situation.

My seasonal February artwork for Patreon subscribers was created with Sunflowers, apricot coloured roses and nature printed seed heads. Sunflowers – sunyashniki are the national flower of Ukraine. They are also a symbol of peace and nuclear disarmament. Sadly there is no peace found as war comes again to Europe.

Many plans were altered and delayed by last year’s lengthy lockdowns. My Summer artwork was mostly made at home, with plants and small flowers from my garden, and occasionally some blooms from the flower markets. For my Patreon supporters the December nature printed artwork was a chorus of vivid flowers including bright Nasturtiums, blue Cornflowers and pink Geraniums. Symbolising creativity in this artwork are orange edible Nasturtiums, endemic to Central and South America.

After the strict lockdown of last year when travel was not possible, it felt really good to be able to see family in the South Island again over Summer. The change of scene provided inspiration and opportunities to learn more about the plants and gardens of a cooler region.

Cottage garden plants have had a revival over the course of the pandemic as more people have put energy into planting gardens and growing flowers at home. These lovely potted ice flowers and hedges of pink roses were just some of the many delights in the gardens of the small country town I visited.

My journey into the world of sustainable growing practices is continuing and I am creating new artworks which delve into this topic. Upon returning to Auckland I was fortunate to be able to make art with some stunning roses – a beautiful, fragrant bunch of orange and pink roses that were sustainably grown at Nourish Gardens, a small flower farm on Waiheke Island. For Valentine’s Day I gave my Patreon subscribers a soft and gentle Rose Dream artwork made with some of these intense orange roses and a nature printed painting. If you would like to become part of my patron community this artwork is available as a digital download here: https://www.patreon.com/celestesterling

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a subscription service for creators with subscriptions starting at US$1 per artwork. I generally make 10-12 artworks each year for my patrons and also give them a some extra art gifts to celebrate special occasions. Like many other creators who have found the offerings of the big social media companies an increasingly toxic space to participate in, I have searched for alternatives and consequently publish most of my writing and art on my Patreon page, in the pursuit of a more equitable, sustainable and fair way to create and share art.

For Christmas 2021 I gave my Patrons a special artwork created with a large and amazing red Peony, Feijoa blooms, and native Rata, as a thank you for their support over the last couple of years. It was wonderful to create an artwork with a Peony, one of the most generous of flowers.

One of the interesting things about the internet is how it can facilitate connections and research across a variety of specialist subjects. In 2021 I was invited to give a presentation about my artwork by archeologists at the University College Dublin, as part of the Antiquity and the Anthropocene: Ancient Materiality online event in December. If you would like to learn more about my art you can find me at 3.24 here: https://soundcloud.com/ucd-humanities/antiquity-anthropocene-ancient-materiality

Floristry techniques have helped me expand my art making to include ephemeral and ecological artworks. This summer I was finally able to complete an ephemeral artwork entitled Haratua (May), after it spent a much longer time exhibited at Uxbridge Arts & Culture than originally planned due to the lockdown. This artwork was created with endemic coastal plants from Tāmaki Estuary for the annual Estuary Art Awards. Haratua was always intended to be returned to the riverbank. On a bright morning this month I was able to return the artwork to the source.

Plans for March include artworks made with waterlilies, a project begun last year. Continuing with the theme of coastal and aquatic plants, another artwork about the Tāmaki Estuary is underway. I’m also working with seeds over the coming weeks, combining them with foliage and the odd feather.

My next artist blog will be in autumn.

Aroha, Celeste

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