Peony in pencil

I never liked peonies before. I always associated them with Chinese paintings and bad tattoos. I’m not a fan of either.
But ever since I first found them in the market here in late April, they’ve become my favorite flower. I love the huge blossoms (statement blossoms?), especially the ones that are colored intense shades of fuschia and coral. And I love how the petals don’t dry up or simply drop off, but fade slowly to white, each blossom at a different pace. Death by ombre, what a way to go.
The only thing that I could conceivably hate about peonies, I discovered during my last Monday sketching session. And that is the fact that they are a real b*tch to draw.

I almost gave up a couple of times. Now I know why the Chinese have stylized their shapes, otherwise these would never make it into traditional motifs. The repetition would have driven the illustrator (at least, a lesser one like myself) totally nuts.

Luckily, we have scanners and printers today. So, working with some fluorescent papers I bought for my Singapore job hunt more than three years ago, I reproduced the sketch I made to create my own peony print. I used Mod Podge for the first time and had awful wrinkles everywhere. Thankfully, most of them disappeared with a little ironing.

The fluo on black kind of reflects how I’ve been feeling about having these flowers at home: they were the only visual bright spots for me during the first two dark, dismal weeks of “summer.” Summer, I’m beginning to suspect, is a figment of the imagination over here, with as tenuous a connection to reality as corporatese, or marketing jargon. 

Ah, enough about this fictitious summer. If I can’t get it outside, then I’ll just have to find some way to enjoy it in my home. In petals or on paper, by nature’s hand or by my own.
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