I had been keeping an eye on the subject in my Dusty Miller piece at the Aiken County Historical Museum for a couple of weeks. The plant had some cool looking round leaves that I thought might make a nice abstract, but I hadn’t been able to find anything that I liked. On the morning I created this, blooms had sprouted and pretty little yellow and orange flowers were popping out at the top of taller stalks in several spots. I walked around the flowers until I found a group that was artistically pleasing and had a viewing angle that allowed me to put them in front of a bush with dark red/purple leaves. Shooting at two times life-size with a shallow depth of field assured me that the background bush would create bokeh with very nice, complementary colors. The high level of detail allows individual hairs to be seen.
My Dusty Blooms composition is from a different group of dusty miller at the museum. I placed the camera over the top of a stalk and pointed it down into the plant. The blooms appear to be more mature and don’t have any buds. I love the blue tones that were reflected off the white surface of the leaves as it creates the impression that I used the sky or placed some type of material under them to achieve the background colors. The high level of detail allows surface textures to be seen.
Although it is from the same plant, Cheery isn’t quite a vertical companion to Dusty Blooms. I did compose from above the flowers while looking down at them again though. But, since my artistic intent was to fill the frame with as many blooms as possible, I had to move the camera to a more suitable spot. The bright yellows and light blue background endow the piece with a sense of happiness.
Dusted is the abstract composition I knew existed, but that I had been unable to find in previous trips to the museum. Perhaps the plants just needed to fill out a bit more. It’s good to keep mental notes of ideas or plans that you have for a given subject and then continue to revisit them until you are able to create what you want.