Local women turn paintings into floral arrangements

In October, three members of area garden clubs tried their hands at interpreting art masterworks into floral materials.

For Fine Arts and Flowers, an event held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Chester Garden Club members Lynn Waymack and Carol Ray interpreted Tomaselli’s Woodpecker, a large, colorful collage of paper, resin and paint. Doris Crowell, a Chester native representing Hopewell’s Nathaniel Cawsey Garden Club, drew inspiration from Henri Rousseau’s Tropical Landscape Showing an American Indian Struggling with a Gorilla.  

Crowell has been involved with Fine Arts and Flowers, which usually takes place every two years at the museum, since its inception. For the event, works of art are interpreted into floral arrangements. In 1988, at the first show, she interpreted Picasso’s Chest of Drawers. She’s only missed one show since then, she said.

Waymack and Ray were first-time participants this year, they said.

“They asked Lynn, and then she asked me to help,” Ray said.

“I wasn’t going to do it alone,” Waymack said.

At the museum, they worked in a very tight space, Waymack said, and the work tables were low. In prior years, Crowell said, “we all did them at home.” This year, the flower artists placed a flower order, and the blooms were donated by Strange’s Florist, Waymack said.

“You don’t know what you have to work with until you get there,” she said. Crowell said they weren’t able to bring flowers or foliage from home.

“Normally, when we design we bring in stuff from our yards,” Waymack said. But, that wasn’t allowed in this show because of concerns about bugs getting to the art.

Waymack and Ray ordered about 180 stems, and had to have replacement flowers, as the arrangements were on display for five days, Ray said. The pair researched their bird, and, because it was common, not exotic, they wanted common rather than exotic flowers, she said.

“It took us five hours to do our design,” Waymack said.

“When we got upstairs, we realized we had to do the back, too,” Ray said, and back downstairs they went.

Crowell said organizers kept calling out the time to the show’s participants. Really, all of the designers were on the “same basis,” she said, “because we didn’t have time to think about it” and “had to use what they sent us.”

“It’s a transient art,” she said. “But, that’s what I like about it.”

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