Part 3 - Patterns - Complex and Advanced
In this series I am looking at the sources of, and influences on, my aesthetic sense in regard to daylily flowers. In the previous two posts and this post, the focus has been on color and color patterns. In future installments we will look at form. In the last post, The Daylily as Art - Part 2 Pattern - the basics, we looked at the five basic patterns we see in daylilies and their possible origination within the species daylilies, as well as how those five basic patterns are melded into my artist aesthetic through the lens of my own tastes and interests.
In this post, we will continue on with patterns, focusing on the modern patterns, specifically eye, edge/eye, wire edges (typically gold, yellow or white), edge/no eye and patterned eyes - in other words, the many advanced variations of the wild-type fulva patterns. We will also touch on advanced versions of 'fading' patterns.
From that first eyed cultivar, I have been hooked. One of the first major "upgrades" I made in terms of fancier eyes was when I purchased Navajo Princess back in the mid-1990's (pictured below - and I still grow it too). I still grow and love eye patterns of all sorts and I still find an eye, with or without an edge and with or without patterning, to be lovely and worthy of working with.
Between a self-colored daylily and an eyed daylily, when all else is equal, I will choose the eyed daylily. I prefer tigers and leopards to lions. I prefer a zebra to a donkey. I prefer a mosaic tile wall to a solid-colored stucco wall. I prefer a calico print cotton to a plain muslin cotton. I prefer brocades to solid-colored wool. I prefer a streaked hosta to a solid-color leaved hosta. There is just something about the intricacy of patterns that appeal to me visually.
However, only a year or two after I bought Navajo Princess, I bought my first eye/edge tetraploid - El Desperado - and that was that as the edge increases the complexity. So on to eye/edge...
With the simple eye/edge phenotype, where we see a simple eye and a single edge, I see the glamorous and elegant eye makeup of the golden age of Hollywood as exemplified by the famous actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.
When we look at daylily flowers of the eye/edge type that seem like a 60's/70's eye, none fit those two decades better than the blue eyes. Some of the blue eyed cultivars don't have an edge, and these could equate to the 70's no-eyebrow look nicely, while other blue eyed cultivars may have a very fine edge that reminds me of the thin 70's eyebrow. Stronger edges are more like the 60's eyebrow style to me.
With the eye/edge type daylilies, we often think in terms of a medium to light petal color with a darker eye and edge, but that is not always the case. I also consider the 'watermark' to be an eye pattern and we often see watermarks with edges of the same or similar tone. Many of these are especially reminiscent of the 1980's eye makeup styles. Compare these to the 80's eye montage above...
The classic Glamour Eye is often constructed by layering either shades of one color or contrasting colors to create strong light and shadow. Dark shadows are created in the crease of the outer, upper eyelid, while bright highlights are added over the main lid and the upper lid, above the crease shadow. Heavy eyeliner is used to draw in an elongated eye ring that has a cat eye or "Egyptian eye" look. This layering makes the eyes stand out strongly. The lashes are well painted, but often fake lashes are used to layer the natural look and make it more extreme. There couldn't be a better metaphor for the modern, fancy, highly "made-up" eye/edge hybrid daylily cultivars.
So, what makes a Glamour Eye daylily flower? First, there has to be at least a double edge, if not triple, and the versions with teeth, knobs, tentacles and/or heavy ruffles take things even a step further, though the look can occur on a less formed edge as well. The heavy edge is equivalent to the heavy eyeliner and the formed edging might be equivalent to fake eyelashes. If one of the edges is metallic, all the better. If the flower shows diamond dusting, that is a plus. The eye should at least be large and if there are any kind of patterns or alternating color edges or bands to the eye, that is a plus. Any color combination works, but the brighter and gaudier the better. Let's look at a few...