My childhood’s summers were spent on a Greek island, called Zakynthos. In this house’s yard, there were many plants and trees, since my father’s love for vegetation had led him to plant the trees before even building a house. Along the fence, there were some oleanders with pink and white flowers.
Me at the age of about 6-7 I remember that I was told in a very serious and strict manner from my parents, that I must never try to eat the leaves of this plant, otherwise I would be poisoned and the consequences would be inevitable!
I had been so obsessed with this phobia, that despite the fact that I have never expressed the willingness to start chewing the garden’s plants… every time I was passing by the oleander I kept reminding myself that “under no circumstances should you eat from this plant!”
Something like the story with protoplasts and the forbidden fruit but in a more obsessed way!
Years have passed but every time I get close to an oleander, the same agony presents itself, at the back of my mind…
End of short story.
So, when I cut this oleander leaf and tried to make a quick painting out of it, (at the precious time I found free as a mom of a 2,5-year-old boy) I never expected I would come with a draw I would love and visit enough ever since.
This oleander leaf is so simple, symmetric and with a solid shape. Even this hue of green that you have to imitate in the drawing is closer to cypress or bay. It does not leave any room for iridescent or play with the colour. It is so dull like a civil servant’s career! If you add the intimate phobia for poisoning… I was feeling that choosing this leaf for practising watercolour painting was not the perfect choice for inspiration.
Only some days after, this elementary paint gained my interest and attention.
Like all the things that enter into our lives silently and without useless noise, this minimal painted leaf won my heart among all the paintings I made this particular day.
Given the situation and the way this naive leaf kept my attention, I thought of all those unreasonable fears that we choose to keep, or they have been planted in our genius and they serve nothing at all! Phobias like medallions of overprotective parents.
Maybe the effort o repel a fear that we are not able to overcome, is not the indicated reaction.
I want to paint what frightens me, to give it a name and a colour. Possibly a different one than its usual.
And so this childish leaf and some flowers of the same plant was scanned and used as a raw material to make something that will be my wish for the new Year to come. To stay true to me and uncover all my unrealistic fears!
I designed it, printed and put it on the fridge door, on the wall and in my heart:
<< Courage is knowing what not to fear!- Plato >>
And a different version of it was made to be a greeting card to spread the news…
If you wish to keep this quote in mind I made a little something for you.
You can download for free this print here.
to give someone who can relate to this!
Then you can keep each other promises for a year that fears will be limited only to the real ones.
This is how it looks framed !