Here is “Plant Mama.”
Here is a time lapse video of the creation of this painting!
Gardening, both indoors and outdoors, is one of my passions. I’m in all the house plant groups. These enthusiasts affectionately refer to themselves and each other as “plant mama” and “plant daddy,” particularly to show an appreciation for beautiful pictures they share with each other: in each photo, the plant mama or daddy is confident, sensuous, and joyful, surrounded by the jungle of plants they grew.
The people’s stories, the bodies they occupy, and the plants they love are always different, but the feeling they embody is always the same. It’s a grounded kind of happiness, a simple satisfaction that came from one of the simple pleasures of being alive: watching something grow. It’s overwhelmingly positive. This feeling is why plant people are plant people.
I’m fortunate to own a rare variegated monstera plant called Thai Constellation. It is still relatively small but I’ve had the pleasure of watching it grow since I got it last year. I frequently take pictures of its interesting white-spotted leaves. I used the leaves of my Thai Constellation monstera as inspiration for this painting. My mind kept seeing the image of the curved shapes and patterns of these leaves surrounding the hourglass shape of a joyful plant mama, so I painted it!
While the humans are occupied with a global pandemic, the plants are living in their own world, and they are still growing. Photosynthesis goes on.
Loving plants, enjoying their beauty, their structure and patterns, marveling at the automatic way they create themselves, is as old as humans.
I read some good advice about what to do when you can’t cope with the feeling of the whole world spiraling out of control. Figure out something that you have complete control over it, and control the heck out of it. For me, attentively caring for plants is one of those things.
Flora and fauna go together. What’s one of the secrets to happiness as a human animal? Plants. The secret is in germination and cultivation, the feeling of progress that comes with watching seeds sprout and new leaves unfurl. It’s in noticing how a plant responds to sunlight and water. Sometimes it’s the feeling of an easy win, because when it comes down to it, a gardener cannot take credit for anything a plant does. The plant grows automatically. All we have to do is provide it with the conditions it needs then step back.
I have always loved the concept of the divine feminine as a creative force that exists in us all regardless of gender: it’s a balance between actively nurturing and simply providing a space for the growth of new life. Regardless of what you want to call it, this is the wisdom behind the green thumb. And when the growth happens, you get to celebrate!
In the summer, my veggie garden usually produces such a surplus that I’m able to share piles of fresh produce with my neighbors. It feels like making something out of nothing. It’s called a victory garden because it feels like a win. It’s the spirit of abundance and generosity. The plants keep growing. There is always more.
Plant Mama is a state of mind.