The Botanical Project (Part 5)

The fifth painting in the project, which I’m calling “Adoration, features a bumblebee climbing around a beautiful yellow sunflower. The completion of this painting concludes phase one of The Botanical Project.

I started this project in September 2020. It took a little longer than I anticipated to complete. Between client work, commissions and the holidays. I am absolutely shocked! That this half of the project only took five months.

“Adoration” Staged

Symbolism of a Yellow Sunflower

Sunflowers are one of my personal favourite flowers. Sometimes I can’t decide if they’re my favourite or if tulips are. Guess it depends on the day.

Today it is all about the sunflower!

The sunflowers most common symbolism originates within greek mythology.

The love story of Apollo and Clytie.

To make a long story short Clytie falls in love with Apollo and they get a little serious. Romance is in the air! Like most greek gods Apollo gets bored and breaks her heart. He moves on. Clytie is justifiably angry and gets turned into a sunflower for calling Apollo out on his shit. Classy.

Most renditions of the story says Clytie is still in love with Apollo. Even as a flower she still adores him. The ancient greeks believed that’s why the sunflower always positions itself to follow the sun. It would explain why the sunflower is associated with adoration, loyalty, and happiness. 

The Details of this Piece

Yellow Sunflower with a bumblebee

Adoration was created using a combination of coloured pencils and watercolour on paper. Technically making this a mixed media painting.

The original measures 4×6 inches. 

It has been framed with conservation in mind under two mats and set in a modern wood frame. 

The outside measurement of the frame is 9.5 x 11.5 inches. 

What was Phase One?

Phase one incorporates everything from the planning, to the illustration and the creation of each painting. 

To expand on that. The Botanical project was inspired by my visit to the Butchart Gardens this past summer. There were bees everywhere! The original goal for The Botanical Project was to create a body of artwork that featured bumblebees.

After some brainstorming in the car with my partner It started to become more ambitious from there. We landed on an idea to create a unique series of greeting cards. A few art pins, and a little extra stuff for packaging and display purposes. 

I took a poll on my social media, and painstakingly went through the suggestions and their attractiveness to bees, the symbolism of each flower and narrowed it down to the five flowers present In the project. Did I overthink it… most likely.

Representing a different emotion someone might want to portray in a card. In no specific order those emotions ended up being adoration, pride, genuine intention, remembrance, and strength. 

Sunflower Work in Progress
“Adoration” In Progress

What is Phase Two?

Phase two is everything else! 

Now that I have the paintings completed and photographed over the next few days, maybe even weeks, I will be designing the layout of each card.

I plan on making a design for art pins featuring each flower. I will throw the sketches up on social media. You will get an opportunity to vote for your favourites. The top two or three will become art pins.

I want to give back with this project. A dollar from every cards sale, twenty five dollars from each originals sale, and (an undetermined amount) from each pin sale will be donated to bee conservation efforts. I just need to find the right bee conservation effort I’d like to support. If you know of one, I’d love to hear from you. 

To elevate this project from my regular body of work. I’m developing a custom pattern, for tissue paper, envelops, etc. I want to make the experience unique with it’s own packaging. I’m not gonna lie, I think It will look good in my design portfolio too.

I’m putting a lot of effort and dedication into this project. It means a great deal to me that it ends up being successful. 

If you’re curious about the previous pieces in the series. Here’s a list of blogs featuring them.

Strength Part 4

Genuine Intention Part 3

Remembrance Part 2

Pride Part 1

When the project concludes. I will be compiling everything into one large blog post. Just to make everything easy, and for SEO reasons. 

I hope you stick around for the journey. There’s a lot of new content on the way. 

Stay creative, 

Justin Erickson 

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