“Addie’s Garden” – Acrylic on Wood, 2017 by Kristin Gjerdset
Created as a commissioned piece for my mom’s cousin, I was given the freedom to design the content but it had to have a butterfly in it and the colors maroon, purples and browns. My first choice quickly became a mourning cloak because it had all the right colors and was the desired insect.
After that, I focused on including plants Addie loved and had in her garden, as well as plants that blossom in spring, since the mourning cloak emerges after a winter hibernation. The ladybugs came later in the process, since the painting needed spots of intensity and Addie let me know she loved them as well.
The most special element for me was making the nest, as it represents a shared moment. When I had initially visited Addie to discuss the commission, we discovered a tiny nest in her backyard bushes, much to her surprise. Carefully constructed of tightly woven branches, I imagined it held hummingbirds. I thought this would be a fitting addition to the rest of the arrangement as a memory. There were no eggs in it at the time, but putting them in the image connected with the idea of new life and hope, that spring gives us.