contemporary and abstract paintings
Art in Bloom - New Orleans Museum of Art March, 1991
Though the first day of spring is not until March 20, weekend visitors to the New Orleans Museum of Art could find themselves singing "It Might As Well Be Spring" during the fourth annual "art In Bloom," which opens with a preview party tonight at 7. The colorful four day event organized by NOMA and the Garden Study Club of New Orleans will festoon the museum galleries with flowers and exhibits arranged by local and regional garden societies, noted artists, celebrities and professional floral and interior designers.
To commemorate the flowery festivities, Wyndy Morehead Fine Arts has published the 1991 "Art In Bloom" poster designed by local artist Karen Jacobs. The poster, based on Jacobs' watercolor and gouache original, depicts the Louisiana iris. Jacobs, who lives and works in her home in Destrehan's Ormond Estates, draws inspiration from indigenous flora. Her paintings characteristically feature rhythmic tangles of palmetto, bamboo, day lily and pampas grass.
"I'm a gardener, and I plant and paint what grows well in the area, said Jacobs, a four year resident of the area. The mother of three grown children, Jacobs moved around often as the wife of a career Air Force officer, now a businessman.
"I was into painting pretty little things until we moved to Washington .D.C.," Jacobs said. While living in the nation's capital Jacobs was inspired by the sophisticated art exhibited there, particularly the geometric abstractions of painter Gene Davis, and subsequently began a series of prints based on stripes. "A stripe is so basic and simple, I discovered it's what you do with it that makes it interesting." Jacobs said.
Living in rural Alabama for 10 years, Jacobs turned to nature for inspiration and her vibrant "non trite" botanical paintings and prints have earned her many awards, purchases and representation in galleries in New Orleans, Atlanta and Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala. Though Jacobs' paintings are based on her own photos, her finished works are not slavish imitations of photographic material.
"I start with a photo, it gives me a road map, and I keep referring back to it while I'm working." she said. The artist estimates that it requires a 40 hour work week to produce one of her typical full scale watercolor paintings. "I work in layers," Jacobs said of her method. "I work on it and I polish it. I don't finish it in an hour." Painting affords Jacobs a welcome sense of freedom. "The joy in what I do is in that it's not composed. I just let it happen; it's an escape."
She also enjoys the reward of sales and respect from her peers that her work has brought her. But, even without the acclaim, "I think I would do something like it anyway," she said. "It's such a release."
Jacobs' 1991 "Art In Bloom" poster will be available at NOMA's Museum Shop and at Wyndy Morehead Fine Arts, 603 Julia St. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to NOMA and the Garden Study Club of New Orleans.
by David Rive
photo by Thom Scott