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The Turka Melea
Creating a World of Hidden Flora
A flower is no less beautiful if it is never seen.
Over the last three years, my mind has been mulling over a different kind of creative project. It is one that would evolve over time and has specific limitations.
Many of you regular readers know that I periodically post drawings of what I have been calling abstract flowers. These drawings have been the seedlings and prototypes for a new, ongoing project I am calling The Hidden Flora.
Imagine, if you will, a time in a very distant future in which a different type of organic plant life exists. These particular plants will have evolved from various ancient animal species (vertebrates, invertebrates, mammals, etc.) and have some of their characteristics.
The art I am making captures these plants in their rarest state as they are just coming into existence and before they have adapted to be more robust and prominent plant species. They are, in fact, hidden from the world and grow in the most remote, unusual, and unlikely places.
Of course, these have simply been ideas floating around in my head.
So, fast forward to about a month ago when my friend Bashi asked me if I might be willing to donate some art for a fundraiser he is hosting on Sunday, October 8. He will raise funds to offset the lower costs of sliding scale payments made by clients of his acupuncture and massage business in Woodbury, TN (Mountain Path Healing Arts Studio). This is an effort to make his services as accessible as possible to all people of different economic means. Various local artists, including myself, will donate art that will be auctioned off.
Just as Bashi asked me if I would participate, my mind jumped immediately toward The Hidden Flora. This was the kick in the buttocks I needed to finally and formally create this work.
The art piece I am donating is the first official hidden flower in this series.
It is called the Turka Melea. Here are its characteristics:
It evolved from a very large ancient bird and grows in the northern hemisphere in what used to be North America.
This flower’s petals are feather-like in texture and are attached to large, filmy, and diaphanous sacks that capture air and cause the petals to flutter wildly whenever a soft breeze passes through.
Each plant produces three flowers that only bloom for three hours in the early morning once a year.
The average width of a full bloom is 12 inches.
These flowers can be found along the edges of grasslands that border steep mountains.
I spent a while figuring out what flower to donate, and I decided on the Turka Melea because it was actually the first one I ever envisioned for this project.
Each flower of The Hidden Flora will be rendered in pencil, and because these flowers are hidden from the greater world, their fullest natures cannot be revealed. As such, they will never be rendered in color. The viewer of the flower must be proactive in this fictional exchange by imagining for herself what colors it holds as it blooms.
This piece is only one of several portraits of the Turka Melea I will be making, and it is also the first of several hidden flora I hope to unleash into the world.
My mom and my husband are skilled and accomplished gardeners. They both inspire me to no end. The Hidden Flora is a garden of my own making, and I grow it in their honor.
Truthfully, the Earth, with all of its vast forests and trees, is one enormous garden. The spoils must go to those who know how to love it and give it life.
P.S. Speaking of creative endeavors, I wanted to invite any of you who live in the greater Nashville area to two of my upcoming shows.
10/28/2023 at Boro Pride (the Murfreesboro LGBTQ Pride Festival) at the Miller Coliseum
12/03/2023 at the French House in Nashville, TN
More details will be announced soon. Please mark your calendars and come out to a show!
This past week, I went with some friends out to Nashville to musician Jack White’s music venue The Blue Room to catch a performance by the talented beat scientist and drummer Makaya McCraven. This venue is one of the smaller ones in the city and offers standing room only to its patrons. I got to stand right in front of the stage to watch Makaya (and his keyboardist) play with unabashed ferocity. As a performing musician and instrumentalist, this was extremely inspiring. There were valuable takeaways for me as I continue to shape my own live shows for audiences everywhere.
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