108: Floral Design, Class 2

Floral Design, Class 2-Unchartered Waters    

This class wades into Unchartered Waters with inspiration from the artworks in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Houston featuring water elements such as lakes, snow, or ice.  Designs may extend up to 20 inches on each side but be no taller than 8 feet from the floor.



Cotopaxi by Frederic Edwin Church
Frederic Edwin Church. Cotopaxi. c 1855. 30 x 46 1/16 in.
Statement of Intent: From chaos and tumult - evolves beauty and tranquility. Peace.

Cotopaxi by Frederic Edwin Church

The artists of the Hudson River School ventured far beyond the New York region suggested in the name that was applied to them. Here, for example, Frederic Church depicts Cotopaxi, an active volcano in Ecuador. The tiny foreground figures suggest the insignificance of people in comparison with the natural wonders that surround them: the volcano, the waterfall, and the lush tropical foliage. A member of the second generation of Romantic landscape painters, Church ranks among the most influential American artists during the period between 1850 and 1875. As a youth, he studied with Thomas Cole, one of the Hudson River School founders, and Cole’s renderings of the Sicilian volcano Mount Etna may have provided inspiration for Cotopaxi. More directly, Church conceived of this work following a visit to South America in 1853, after which he depicted the cone-shaped volcano repeatedly for nearly a decade. Painted at a turbulent moment in America’s history, before the outbreak of the Civil War, Cotopaxi embodies Church's response to current events. The smoldering volcano in the background carries portents of destruction, and the palm tree—which does not exist on the actual site of Cotopaxi—symbolizes both Latin America and the Garden of Eden. In addition to containing inherent moralistic messages, awe-inspiring American Romantic landscape paintings such as this one also served as documents of distant, exotic sites in the era before photography and modern travel.

Marsh Sunset, Newburyport, Massachusetts by Martin Johnson Heade


Martin Johnson Heade. Marsh Sunset, Newburyport, Massachusetts. 1876-82. 13 x 26 in.
Statement of Intent: A peaceful scene interpreted in layers and textures.

Indians Spear Fishing by Albert Bierstadt

Albert Bierstadt. Indians Spear Fishing. 1862. 19 ¼ x 29 ¼ in.
Statement of Intent: Diminutive in the pristine wilderness, Man must match his will to the epic grandeur of his surroundings to reap the riches of the land.

Indians Spear Fishing by Albert Bierstadt

Landscape as a form of theater and spectacle culminated in 19th-century American art with the work of Thomas Moran and Albert Bierstadt. Both artists emigrated from Europe at young ages and went on to achieve success as interpreters of the American West. The new, epic landscape they depicted functioned as a national symbol of grandeur and promise, yet at the same time it served as rumination on the subject of nature and the divinity to be found within it. Bierstadt, the author is this paintingfirst left the East Coast to travel west in 1859, accompanying a government-sponsored trip from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains. Compiled from close observation, sketches, and stereoscopic views taken on the expedition, Indians Spear Fishing portrays the West as a pristine, sublime wilderness that seemingly could be found only in the Bible's Book of Genesis. Within a compressed space, Bierstadt draws together barren rock formations, towering waterfalls, spindly trees, crystalline water reflecting rocky outcrops, and a peak that pierces the wispy and moisture-laden clouds, turning to mist below. In the brightly lit foreground near the shore, a boat filled with three Native Americans provides scale and identifies the location as unmistakably that of the West; the boat laden with furs spells the riches of the land.


Curling:--a Scottish Game, at Central Park by John George Brown
John George Brown. Curling;--a Scottish Game, at Central Park. 1862. 20 x 44 in.

Click below to learn about the Game of Curling.