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"A Dance in the Pulpit"
23 x 13"
Graphite & Nero Pencil on Watercolor Board2014
How to buy (General Information)
Jack-in-the-Pulpits are among my very favorite flowers. There is something at once unbearably elegant but also delightfully subversive about their shape. Though there are species native to the US, I became obsessed with some of the more exotic varieties, such as the glorious Ariseamas, the massive and sometimes obscene Amorphophallus, the sinister Drancunculus vulgaris (which smells exactly as it sounds), Sauromatum, or Voodoo Lillies, and the plant you see here, Pinellia tripartita. Though I never tired of the display my aroids gave me each year, these exotic varieties require dry winters and wet summers, the exact opposite of my native California climate. This meant confining my collection to pots (or a massive tub as in the case of my voodoo lilies, their bulbs having reached the size of small melons) moving them under overhangs during the winter, then dragging them out in the spring and watering ever so carefully once the stems began to emerge. Some of the most beautiful plants, I should add, (my glorious Voodoo lilies being the worst offenders) smelled staggeringly of rotting flesh or manure upon flowering to attract flies for pollination. I was happy to bear it as a concession to the eighteen inch high purple and yellow mottled spathe and spadix, but my family was less than enthusiastic. As I was preparing to move to my first home, the notion of bringing this collection of pots with me became problematic, especially considering that they all spend about half the year in dormancy looking very much like, well…pots of dirt. I sold all my best specimens to a local nursery for propagation and gave away some smaller plants. Only the Pinellia, which seemed to be the only Jack-in-the-Pulpit in my collection capable of staying in the ground year round and tolerating our wet winters, was spared. To this day, they are clumping and reseeding in my parents’ garden, happy as can be in the filtered shade of Japanese Maples.|
In China and greater Asia from which they hail, they are often called “Green Dragons” and they certainly play the part well. I look forward every year to seeing their tripartite leaves unfurl in acid green, and their hooded green heads emerge, coyly at first, then flicking out their impressively long and sinuous “tongues” for all to marvel at. These plants are easy to anthropomorphize, and I’ve done that here, drawing the limbs of these “dragons” dancing to an unheard melody in stark, graphic contrast that at once recalls Art Nouveau posters for dancing showgirls, the nodding of fantastic undersea wonders in gentle sway of the ocean depths, and perhaps the wonder and awe of the first men to come across these plants in some dark and verdant woodland glen in China and see in them the beasts of their most ancient and revered folklore.
Welcome to the online home for artwork by Andrew Denman, a California –based, internationally recognized, award-winning contemporary wildlife artist. Denman primarily paints wildlife and animal subjects in a unique, hallmark style combining hyper-realism with stylization and abstraction. His dynamic and original acrylic paintings can be found in museum collections on two continents and in numerous private collections in the USA and abroad. His clear voice, unique vision, and commitment to constant artistic experimentation have positioned him on the forefront of an artistic vanguard of the best contemporary wildlife and animal painters working today.
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