Sunday, May 12, 2013

Heirloom Hollyhocks

Heirloom Hollyhocks oil   40" x 30"   R. Garriott   SOLD

Many years ago I was seasonally employed at a greenhouse. While the pay was minimal,  the weather ever-changing, and the concrete brutal on the feet, it did surround those of us there in a profusion of saturated color that gave my phosphenes a healthy kick. I had made one of the biggest art sales of my early career (through an arts admin to an HMO) during that first season but know one knew; I was just another worker slug that restocked trays and trays of petunias and pansies day after day after day.

All of which is a digression; although this painting was inspired by that time, by the seed packets that could be bought inside the store, this is the actual story of the Heirloom Hollyhocks:
Later working (once again) as a graphic designer, one of my clients mentioned that she planned 
for the Grand Opening of her boutique to give away seeds packets from her Uncle Olav's (or maybe it was Uncle Gustav's) heirloom hollyhocks in a commemorative package. Misinterpreting her email as request for a design of the package, I sent her something along these lines (as a model I used this hollyhock in my backyard garden). As it turns out, she had already commissioned her niece to design the seed package which would be printed in black on a green paper. The niece's design had a nicely hand made look that was really far more appropriate than my overly-commercial layout.

Was I a bit disappointed? A bit, I suppose, but over time one gets used to these sorts of misunderstandings. I sighed, moved on, and a few years later painted this based on the seed packet idea because I still thought it was a fun idea, and I got to use some of my rusty lettering skills from another previous profession (sign painting). 

In a lovely bit of synchronicity, it turned out that a co-worker at that same greenhouse ended up owning this painting. I am so happy it has a good home.


  1. “Heirloom Hollyhocks” 'bout knocked my socks off!

    My very, very first interest was gardening. Art was my second very early interest. (Girls came in a close third.) Of course my career in landscape architecture was the perfect marriage of both.

    As a kid I used to get the Ferry-Morse seed catalog and spent hours admiring the seed packet flower illustrations. Your painting delightfully brought back all that innocent imagery.

    A few years back, I finally grew Hollyhocks in my garden. They didn’t disappoint.

    Ya gotta do more of these.

  2. It's gorgeous! I love hollyhocks...they remind me of all things antique. Most people don't put them in their gardens anymore, unless they're going for that vintage look. Beautiful!

  3. I'd love to see more seed packs too! This one is lovely, the blooms look so vibrant and I love seeing the text there too, more please.

  4. Gorgeous, as always. Love visiting your blog.

  5. Just beautiful...I would love to see more also!

  6. I love this bright cheerful and vintage looking piece, and also what a nice story to go with it :)


Thank you for your kind comments! They always make my day.