The poinciana trees are finishing their reign now, but back in the early days of summer they’d burst into bloom, seemingly overnight, and put on a raging show, all hot burning reds and bright fiery oranges. Flaring up all over town and country they were, gladdening the hearts of one and all, and up close they’re even more gorgeous – what a riot of fabulousness they are! Down Constant Spring Road there are about a dozen of them lining the side of this dirty noisy city street, and for that stretch and that stretch alone, the grime and ugliness of this frenetic road disappears, the fanfare of color and majesty filling the space with glory. Most of these particular trees are of the orange, and more rare, variety, with a few of the common red ones amongst their rank; the blend of the two colors only serves to intensify Nature’s parade, to turn up the volume, so to speak. Beneath these tall trees is a long and wide path, strewn of course in a carpet of big blousy blossoms, so the overall effect is spectacular, and upon this path people walk, going about their business.
I determined to have a go at painting these beauties, but as usual the ‘plein air’ approach is not possible, between the heat and the unwanted attention, so I took some photographs instead one early Sunday morning, and returned to the studio to work from them there. It was only then that I noticed that the young man who had been walking amidst the dapple on the shaded pathway while I took the shots was carrying his Bible, and so the scene became more charged with meaning; a young man on his spiritual path, walking towards the Light, surrounded and embraced by beauty; and that felt like something universal, something we can all access, whether it’s because we respond with joy to the awesomeness of the natural world, or because we’re walking our path with faith…and then it became more personal again, and the young man became a young man I knew and loved, and for whom I had just planted some bright orange marigolds, and so this is for him.