Is there anything less inspirational than the long weeks of January and February with no holiday season to look forward to and spring a seemingly lifetime away? I’d say no. When I’m feeling particularly down during these gray days, I often turn to the floral paintings of contemporary artist Lulie Wallace to re-inspire, re-motivate and re-energize myself.
Lulie Wallace is a painter living and working in Charleston, South Carolina. A born-and-raised Georgian, Wallace moved up the coast to attend the College of Charleston where she majored in Studio Art and now has a studio at the non-profit art collective, Redux.
She credits a professor’s earnest praise of one of her very first floral paintings during her senior year of college as the start of her floral obsession. She’s since painted hundreds (thousands?) of bouquets, each one a singular celebration of color, form and texture. Her color palette for each is so fresh and current; it’s so apparent that she takes great joy in creating a vibrant still life unique to her point of view.
Flowers for Georgia is a personal favorite. The colors of the flowers explode off the grayed out background and the off-center placement of the bouquet is just surprising enough to keep the composition special. The blue, green and teal bits are especially striking and keep my eye moving across the canvas. It’s special and technically thoughtful but still fun.
Wallace’s paintings are cheerful but not saccharine, whimsical but not silly, innocent but not naïve. It’s a delicate balance she manages flawlessly. Her painterly and expressionistic style calls to mind Matisse and the fauvists and while she understands the connection, she cites Kandinsky, Alice Neel and de Kooning as personal inspirations.