36" x 30"
Utah, Nevada, Arizona, United States
I grew up in the North believing that tropical climates were the place to go for massive shows of flowers, but I soon learned that the prize for sheer numbers goes to deserts or alpine meadows. In the desert there is a tiny window, after an infrequent rain, when the plants must flower, so they produce all their flowers at once. Alpine meadows do the same in order to cram their seed making into its short summer. I have seen these areas carpeted with flowers so thick that I didn’t know where to step.
I remember how the Irises in my home in Toronto were covered with flowers for a few weeks. I tried to duplicate that beauty in my home in Miami, but Northern species of Irises don’t tolerate the hot weather. So, I planted a Brazilian Iris. It flowered for over half a year, but with one flower at a time! My guess is that plants living in the tropics do not need to rush all their blooms into a small window, so they spread them out.
This shrub was a good example of desert flower power. It was covered with flowers. Moreover, every flower was visible because there were almost no leaves. Many desert plants lack leaves or have greatly reduced leaves to limit water loss. Another element that enhanced the effect of the flowers in the painting was the ochre sand. There is nothing like yellow to set off its violet complement.
Finally, their large color range made these plants made an excellent subject for painting–the flowers varied from pure white through various shades of pink and deep mauve. The unfurled tubes were bright pink which faded as they opened.
These shrubs live where three states come together—Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.