Flower power blooms
VISUAL ARTS Nature's Dance. Watercolours by Carmen Lund Plum Blossoms Gallery until June 28.
CARMEN Lund is a watercolourist who handles her medium adroitly. In mostly large works, often diptyches or tryptychs, she concerns herself most memorably with evoking the floral charms of gardens in temperate zones of the Earth's surface.
The attractions of massed blooms holding their faces to the life-giving sun is something probably felt by most people, even from childhood, but, as anyone knows who has tried to make satisfactory paintings of it, one which is not so readily caught in paint.
One problem is that the scene needs to be organised (which it is not in nature) and in organising it the charming dancing spontaneity of the garden flowers tends to stiffen and vanish.
Ms Lund manages mostly to preserve it. She does this in her best works by organising the paintings into quite severe rectangular areas that fade away at some corners into more amorphous passages, so that what is often close-up flower, shifts and drifts away into a more spontaneous and natural setting.
This method makes for lively pictures whose interest is floral, formal, colouristic, and then after all - informal.
More naturalistic paintings of flowers without this method are a good deal less satisfactory, stiff, self-conscious, and rather flat. The gaiety seems to have drained away in these specimens, and also from the glowing but flat paintings of fruit. The less said about Hongkong cityscapes perhaps the better.
One of the most accomplished paintings is Transitions III dealing with that between winter and spring. Here amid snow the tender stems of flowers, the fine bare branches are isolated in white, and leaves and remnants of winter's cruel withering form delicate patterns.