In this series of blinterviews, I talk with women who are stepping up and inspiring us to both speak our Minds and speak from our Hearts.
Sandy Morrow, Artist : The Sensual Beauty of Flowers
Sandy Morrow is an artist who has been fascinated by flowers since early childhood.
“Initially I was inspired by my mother’s garden in Melbourne,” she tells me, as we quietly sip coffee in Paddington. “The flowers there were so beautiful – I was fascinated by them. They drew me into a world of beauty, love, appreciation and gratitude. They seemed to represent something beautiful in the midst of life and still do.”
As Sandy talks I see images of a little girl delighting in colours and blooms. I can imagine her leaning over, peering intently and gently touching . I can feel the peace she experienced, the quietude that comes from immersion in beauty.
“Life can be a paradox. There is such beauty in the world, such perfection and yet there is also conflict and cruelty. I want to remember the beauty. I want others to remember the beauty. I’d love my art to inspire and touch people’s hearts.”
As a child, Sandy found that her heart-felt connection with beauty provided relief from the dull, boring or confusing aspects of everyday living. This connection with beauty was tested in later life, when Sandy’s father committed suicide.
Sandy was 28 at the time and had followed her creativity into pottery, whilst working as a flight attendant.
“It was an extremely traumatic time when dad died and soon after I stopped doing pottery, selling my wheel and kiln – everything. Looking back, I realise that by living without a creative outlet, life became even more challenging for me. I felt as if I had lost my identity, my sense of who I was. Life became a struggle.”
Listening to Sandy’s story I see enormous strength in her. Regardless of how she is feeling she carries on and over the years continues into a role as a caring wife to husband Peter and loving mother to two sons.
Fast forward 15 years and Sandy finds herself doing a workshop in which she imagines her future self.
“I saw myself as an artist, travelling the world and spending extended periods in Bali. It was the beginning of acknowledging my dream.”
Creativity and self-discovery are often complementary. Life seems to know exactly where to take us to bring us back to ourselves. For Sandy this has certainly been the case.
“Flowers for me are predominantly a metaphor. They draw me into their inner world and my inner world. My artwork is a way of expressing differing aspects and energies of myself.”
It seems that Sandy isn’t the only one drawn into the inner world of her flower-art. At her first solo exhibition in November 2011, she sold 13 of her 21 exhibited paintings.
“Recently,” she confides, “a gallery owner was advising emerging artists that if you sold one or maybe two paintings at your first exhibition, you were doing well. It suddenly occurred to me how much my art had connected with people.”
As Sandy’s artwork continues to be a vehicle for her self-expression, her paintings have taken on a new life and a fresh theme is subtly emerging.
“I love how I am intimately drawn into the inner beauty of flowers and was surprised when people started seeing sensual images in my paintings. It wasn’t something I was consciously doing, but I’m fine now when others see similarities between my flowers and the seductive curves of women.”
“In fact, one of my favourite quotes ”, muses Sandy,” is this one by French writer, Jean Giraudoux.”
“ The flower is the poetry of reproduction.
It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”
Now that Sandy is aware of these comparisons, she is happy to nurture the association.
“I love that my work is also a way to celebrate the sensual energy in us all. It’s a shame if such innocence is misrepresented as crass or vulgar” she said.
“Flowers have taught me that every shape and every form is absolutely perfect and I would love women to know that about themselves. We are all beautiful – women are all beautiful. If my art can help people know that, then I will be very happy.”
Sandy’s “Sensual and Beautiful Flower-Art” can be viewed at www.sandymorrow.com.au/gallery
Ellen is a human behaviour expert, coach and consultant. She is available for individual and group sessions facilitating enhanced behavioural awareness and productive change. To be part of the Inspiring Women Series or for other information contact Ellen on firstname.lastname@example.org