It’s Erythronium Time

Erythronium oregonum

Erythronium oregonum

A few days ago, I went for a walk with my daughter and grandson. We followed the trails that wind through a forested area near Beckwith Park in Saanich East. This area is part of the Garry Oak Restoration Project (GORP), a public ecological restoration program designed to educate local residents about the value and sensitivity of Garry oak ecosystems. It was exactly the right time of year to see hundreds of fawn lilies (Erythronium oregonum) blooming in grassy areas near trails and ponds. We made frequent stops to admire the delicate white blossoms floating above the mottled leaves.

This week’s printmaking experience was not as successful as that lovely walk–not by a long shot. There was a lot more problem solving going on than there was printmaking. Not enough ink on the plate, then too much ink. Spatters, spots and smudges. No perfect prints and not many passable ones. Still, I promised in my last post that I would have a print to show you, so here it is.

"Erythronium", linocut, 5" x 7"

“Erythronium”, linocut, 5″ x 7″

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19 thoughts on “It’s Erythronium Time

  1. I admire printmakers. There are so many considerations that fall outside of one’s control that it is an exciting process, but for me, mostly disappointing. I think you’ve captured the flow and feel of the flowers, so for me, it works! Though I do understand your point of view, the print coupled with your memory of the walk is a beautiful thing to view.

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    • You’ve put this very well, although I think it is part of the artistic process, no matter what the medium–that gap between the aspiration and the execution. Thanks for your comment, I do appreciate it.

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    • Thanks, Ashley. I think I turned against it a bit because all my efforts seemed to go completely awry that day. I’ve done another print since–something completely different, and I will be posting it very soon.

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    • The painting used to belong to the Sisters of Saint Anne, but it is part of the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria now. I don’t know if it is part of the AGO exhibition. I like the AGO very much and always enjoyed my visits there.

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  2. Thank you for sharing these beautiful fawn lilies with us. It always makes my heart sing to learn about another area of land, like GORP, being protected for people’s pleasure and study. Your lilies remind me a little of our spider lily, and despite its flaws (which I couldn’t find) your stunning linocut was much appreciated.

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    • What a lovely comment! There was a time when Erythronium oregonum was on the endangered list here, but it seems that people have caught on about not picking the flowers so they are reseeding and making new flowers now.

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    • Well, yes, but it’s exactly like gardening–you have a vision of the fritillary or trillium or fawn lily that’s going to bloom in your garden and what you get is chewed up stems. It’s bound to be a disappointment.

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    • Thank you so much! We don’t think of Emily Carr as a painter of flowers, but her “Wild Lilies” is a beautiful painting and it captures the abundance of fawn lilies flowering in wild places in the spring.

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