Coming from a ever-green part of the world, I am in constant awe about the seasons. The long winter turning into hopeful spring and flowers are the best messengers of the days of light and warmth to come. My garden is now full of crocus: under the trees, through the paves, and smiling from any little available crevice. Sometimes these brave flowers defy the snow and show their purple and yellow tip through the white cloud… but this is not the case this winter (well, not so far!).
For this drawing I decided on a composition with the classic botanic illustration with some elements of design. I decided on three sections of the paper, and working on the “transitional” elements of the plant. In doing so I chose to keep a linear design, the stem emerging from the bulb, becoming leaf, pistil and petals. I also added small details about the flower, the seed and the primeval corn. I feel that this is a good way of adding to the charm of this flower, and today seems to be an appropriate day for letting charm and dare to play…
This plant is widely present in all Europe, from Crete to England, and its flowers have been used as dye, as a perfume, for rituals and also for medicine. It seems that the crocus was greatly valued in ancient world, according to this website, angelfire, there are several legends that make of crocus the quintessential flower of love (watch out red rose!)
“Young Crocus was a shepherd boy of fine and noble spirit. He fell deeply in love with the lovely nymph Smilax. The gods were so impressed with the depth of his devotion, that they granted him immortality and turned him into a flower. To ensure that they could be forever together, Smilax was transformed as an evergreen, the yew. “
And another legend connects the crocus with Valentinus (from the St. Valentin Day):
” Valentinus was a Third Century Roman physician who administered natural remedies. He was also a practicing Christian priest and prayed for his patients’ healing. Unfortunately, Christian practices were not permitted under the reign of Claudius II, and Valentine was arrested and sentenced to death. The jailor’s blind daughter was one of Valentine’s patients. Just before his excecution, Valentine handed the jailor a note for the blind girl. In the note, he had wrapped a yellow crocus, the source of one of his healing herbs, saffron. As the jailor’s blind daughter opened the note, her sight was restored and the first flower she saw was the yellow crocus which rivals the sun in its brightness.
On the note, the physician had penned the following message:
~From your Valentine.~
It was the physician’s last message and the world’s first valentine. The day was February 14, 270 AD.”
So before the end of this Valentine month, love and hope for the whole year!