Q & A with Artists from Bouquet


Bouquet- Earls Court Gallery

Over the last few years, we have embraced sharing our ideas through digital media more than ever. We are excited to be open for in person visits and show off the enchanting artworks by Donna Fratesi, Clarence Porter, Sandra Manzi and Miriam Traher in the current exhibit “Bouquet”.

There are still times when you can’t reach the gallery to meet the artists in person, so here are a few insights from the four artists.  

Each artist took the time to respond to the following questions: 

  1. What flower enchants you the most and reoccurs in your artworks? What elements of this flower continues to draw itself to you that you need to work with it visually?
  2.  How do you use flowers to emphasize any of the following: personality, emotions, or symbolism? 


date Night Donna Fratesi earls Court Gallery



 Of all the flowers in the garden, the peony stands out above them all. In its lushness, its vibrancy and its wonderful sensuality, it draws me in.  From the buds to the fully opened flower to the withering of it at last, it has a beauty that surpasses all the other flowers around it.


All of my longing and frustrations of the last two years are poured into these beautiful flowers. Picking up the paint on my brush and dashing it on the canvas with all of the emotion I can muster, it satisfies my soul.  My painting “Date Night” is an example of what I am trying to express. From the minute I put brush to canvas it was as though I never had to think about what I was painting, it just flowed.  Of course, such beauty cannot be copied; you just try to do it justice with your love of painting those gorgeous flowers.

Clarence Porter Earls Court Gallery


The flowers in my paintings were more a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves. For the past few years, I’ve been on an exploration that has focused on the relationships between shadows and their objects, giving attention to the shadows. In my last iteration of paintings – “The Reaching” series – the paintings examined a more macro view of the shadows, showing their relationship to the naked, early spring trees in city environments. Flowers offered me an opportunity to examine shadows on a more micro level. The objectives in both the macro and micro exercises were to show not only the relationship but the beauty in the relationships between objects and shadows. In this case, a flower is delicate and beautiful but so are the lace-like shadows they produce. 


In “The Flower and the Shadows” series, the flowers in my paintings were the vehicle I used to focus the viewer on not only looking at and responding to the flowers but also looking at and responding to their shadows. My hope is that in so doing, the viewer will come to focus on their own environment with fresh eyes. By looking down at the variety of shapes, colours and intensities of the shadow/object relationships, maybe this will cause the viewer to look up at the world in a different light.

Sandra Manzi Earls court Gallery


 I don't really have one particular flower per say that enchants me the most, but I do love flowers with many white petals that fade into a pink in it's shadows, such as in 'Persistence' and 'Retreat'. I'm more interested in how the color, texture, and form of a particular flower will merge with the underlying image I choose to lay it on top of. 


I use florals to emphasize and heighten many human emotions. In the painting titled 'Queen Georgia' I fragmented the flowers quite a bit to the point of being unrecognizable except for a few bits of floral color and texture here and there. There is a bit of a tug of war happening between the figure in this image (that being of my niece Georgia) and the floral elements. The florals represent the persistence of nature and the figure represents the persistence of youth. The composition suggests a containment of sorts or a kind of digital loop where there is no winner or looser and no way out. 

Miriam Traher



What flower enchants me? Wow, that is a tricky question as I love so many of them. Crocus popping from the ground in spring, yellow forsythia branches in a vase, and the beauty of a blooming peony draw me in every time to stop and enjoy. But, If I can only pick one, I would have to go with a red tulip. I can't say I have a direct link between flower favourites and my paintings, as my work is about the emotions and feelings flowers evoke for me interlaced with my memories. The fields of red poppies in the South of France from a past trip bring back so many unforgettable memories when I see them blooming in June. Their resilience, beauty, strength and sole purpose to "just be here to enjoy" make me smile. Flowers have such simplicity to their existence, the feeling of life, fun and sunshine. These thoughts and emotions become the foundation of my pieces, such as Summer of Joy, Song Of The Meadow, and Imagine Just For A Moment, which I admit I take colour liberties with. 


So Why the red tulip as my nod of favour? It's one of the first spring blooms at my home, so beautiful in the barren garden, signaling the beauty of summer. How can they not make me happy? And in honour of them, I have planted many, perhaps heritage to my Dutch blood, and I always enjoy them brightening up the house. It's something I do all summer long. Picking flowers and haphazardly putting them in various bottles and vases around the house. I love bringing my garden and its beauty inside to enjoy all day long like a flower painting enjoyed on cold, dreary winter days. 


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.