This week my pansies have been in full bloom. They’re smiling and happy soft pink faces have brought great delight. I have no doubt that the fairies have worked very hard to make sure that plants and flowers thrive!
I haven’t been lucky to catch sight of a pansy fairy yet, but fortunately, thanks to Cicley Mary Barker, I have some idea of what this flower fairy might look like. Cicley Mary Barker is a famous illustrator, who painted the fairies of flowers and trees, including the pansy.
While Cicley never saw a fairy herself, I used to wonder how she created such beautiful images of them. Fortunately, her life story and the major components of her creative process have been documented.
Cicley Mary Barker started painting in her teenage years. One of her mentors was Kate Greenaway, an English Victorian artist and writer, who was well known for her children’s illustrations. Cicley passed much time copying Kate’s illustrations. She also had a keen interest in folklore and mythology (Green 2018).
Later, when painting her famous flower fairies, Cicley drew inspiration from her surroundings. She had real-life models; these were children who attended her sister’s kindergarten, which operated at their family home (Green 2018). Believe it or not, Cicley even made the costumes and wings for each fairy! Once finished, she recycled the material.
The school was situated alongside of a garden and Cicley passed much time learning and observing the plants and as a result, her paintings of the flowers are ‘botanically correct’ (Green 2018).
Learning about Cicley’s process has encouraged me not only to play in the garden more but also to use my own little mini garden as a model for my own artwork. To help develop my skills, I am now making and starting a fairy journal.
You can find Cicley Mary’s Complete Collection of the Flower Fairies at the Book Depository.
If you would like to get create, you can also purchase the Flower Fairies Colouring Book
Meanwhile, if you are seeking art supplies to start your own nature or fairy garden journal, I cordially invite you to visit my store.
2018, Mary Greene. “Lessons in magic: The iconic Flower Fairy paintings by Cicely Mary Barker were not only enchanting to look at – but also incredibly accurate botanical studies.” Weekend Magazine, accessed 16 October 2020.
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