Canadian abstract artist Susannah Bee with 'pink white' an original painting from the 'In Bloom' collection

A seed sown, a collection grown

Every year about this time my landscapes paintings are waylaid in favour of florals. How can I resist the inspiration bursting into bloom around me? The simple answer is ... I can't! I'm endlessly fascinated by flowers: their complex nature, simple beauty, showy magnificence and divine but short existence.  I love how perfectly joyful they are, and how they sprinkle our world with colour.

My 'In Bloom' collection started with the notion of doing 'a bunch of flower paintings'. That seed of an idea grew little by little as I gathered colour inspiration and photographs from my neighbourhood walks, paying attention to what I was continually drawn towards (last year white poppies, this year it seemed to be really messy Bearded Irises and Showstopper Lilies). I started to doodle and draw, refining my ideas as I went. I made lots of mistakes - initially hated pretty much everything - but I knew there was something 'there' I needed to find, and then one morning I discovered 'my' flower for this series.

Sketchbook image of flowers from the 'In Bloom' collection by Canadian abstract artist Susannah Bee

Colour studies and loose painted sketches followed. Once I had a paintbrush in hand, I started seeing things that felt OK so I kept at it, trying different compositions in different sizes, a wide range of colour palettes and playing with whimsical details. Slowly, over the course of weeks, a cohesive look and feel started to emerge and the collection as a whole came together. 

Pink sketches from the 'In Bloom' collection of floral paintings by Canadian abstract artist Susannah Bee

I aimed to keep these paintings feeling fresh and alive, weird and wonderful. The abstract nature of my flower is important to me as I want my work to feel contemporary and uniquely 'me'. It's essential that my work looks like my work no matter the subject matter, and that my signature style remains identifiable: bold and simple brushstrokes and perfectly imperfect shapes. While filled with colour, there's always an underlying feeling of calm, peace and simple joy.

Canadian abstract artist Susannah Bee sitting in a chair in front of 'pink white' from the In Bloom collection

Once the rush of painting is over, there is a surprising amount of work to do to finalize a collection: finishing edges, varnishing each piece and signing & dating them on the reverse side. Then the whole collection gets delivered to my photographer be professionally captured. Each photo image needs to be carefully colour corrected, edited and made print-ready. There was an in-studio photo shoot, setting up my web shop for both originals and prints and working out the sales details. Finally, shipping supplies were ordered and we're ready to go!

Along the way we decided these florals would make beautiful greeting cards. That was an exciting project because it's the first time I've offered packs of cards. Cards are being printed and packed and then we're ready to go!

All in all, this has been an intensely creative, challenging and super-involved nine week process and I'm thrilled to share 'In Bloom' with you all!

The collection will be available next week. Sign up here for the advance preview of the full collection.

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