Why do water lilies fascinate?
As I continue my series of water lily paintings, I wonder why water lilies are so fascinating to me and many other painters.
Water lilies are mythological. Their genus name nymphaea was inspired by the nymphs of Greek and Latin mythology who inhabited rivers and springs.
What interests me about water lilies is that they exist in both air and water. The leaves form a scrim on the surface of the water, concealing what lies below in shadows while the flowers float and sparkle on the surface. The notched oval leaves form an irregular pattern interspersed with reflections of the sky in a cool palette of blues and greens.
Although they are usually found in growing in still water, water lilies may be disturbed by ripples from breezes and water creatures. I enjoy the challenge described by Ted Hughes in his poem “To Paint a Waterlily”, “…Now paint the long-necked lily-flower/ Which, deep in both worlds, can be still/ As a painting, trembling hardly at all…”