Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Daylily as Art - Part 3 Pattern 2

The Daylily As Art

Influences on Plant and Flower Aesthetics from the Arts, Pop Culture, Fashion and the Natural World
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.

I love eye/band patterns. I have as long as I can remember. H. fulva 'Europa' was the first daylily I encountered. It has an eye pattern and was my original imprint on what a daylily is. The fulva clones are possibly the main origin-source of all eyes in hybrid daylilies. The first banded cultivar I remember seeing was Stout's 'Linda' (picture above - I still grow it, btw). The first eyed cultivar I grew was Radiant Greetings (Wild, 1975). 

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. 
Navajo Princess
The eye patterns obviously remind me of an eye, but I 'see' more in them than just an eyeball. They are a pattern, and I have always had a love for patterns. If I could choose between a self-colored white or black chicken and a red and black, mottled, laced or spangled chicken, I will always go for the patterned chicken. Between a white turkey and a royal palm (black and white patterned) turkey, I will choose the later. Between a white peacock and an Indian Blue peacock, I will choose the later. 

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...

El Desperado
When we move on to the edge/eye phenotype, we have slightly increased the complexity of the pattern. The edge can be found in a very slight form in some of the fulva clones where the eye also seems to originate.
H. fulva 'Korean' (Apps)
There are many things the eye/edge remind me of - the laced feather phenotype of some fancy chicken breeds, the border of formal flower beds, the contrasting piping on some garments, the black outline on the borders of the dorsal blotches of corn snakes, the black outline of comic book art - but the eye/edge phenotype reminds me of nothing more than eye makeup.

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.

Unknown eye/edge tetraploid

No Blue Oxfords

When we look at the eye makeup trends of the last fifty years or so, we can see many parallels with the eye/edge combinations in daylilies. The 1960's, 70's and 80's saw lots of innovation and creativity on many levels. Most fashion and art since then has been a regurgitation of those three decades. Let's take a little trip through time and make some comparisons.

The eyes of the 1960's is the beginning of big, bold eyeliner and heavy coloring of eye shadow with fake eyelashes. The cat-eye style of liner began in the 1950's and continued on into the 1960's, while the Egyptian-like eyeliner with strong blue shadow came into fashion after Liz Taylor played Cleopatra in 1963. Such icons as Twiggy and Cher carried that on throughout the decade.
The 1970's took the influences of the 1960's and just went bigger, bolder, brighter and weirder. From David Bowie and glam rock to Hollywood and popular music stars such as Liza Minelli, Diana Ross and Cher, to fashion, to underground films such as Rocky Horror and the trash films of John Waters, to country music stars such as Dolly Parton and on to the stars of Disco, the 1970's can best be summed up as 'blue' (turquoise to true-blue to lavender) - brash, loud, sparkly and overdone. The eyebrows are fairly understated though, or even absent, with the 70's pencil-line eyebrow being a notable fashion icon.

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.
Blue Oasis with no edge, but a big bluish-lavender eye very reminiscent to me of some of the no-eyebrow looks of the 70's.

Hidden Cameras showing a lavender-blue eye with a narrow edge reminds me of the 70's blue eye with narrow eyebrow.

Solaris Symmetry can show an extremely bluish patterned eye with a nice edge and is very reminiscent to me of the 60's and 70's high-fashion blue glamour eye makeup.

Blast of Blue shows the very fine edge with a very close to real blue eye on lavender petals with a purple line between the eye and petal tones. This one just screams 70's glam rock eye with pencil-thin eyebrow to me.

Alien Galaxy is a lovely cultivar and shows a gorgeous bluish-purple eye with a very subtle edge. This eye reminds me of the 60's cat-eye or Egyptian eye look.

The 1980's saw the height of punk and the rise of new wave, followed by 'hair-metal', and with these trends in music, fashion changed in response. Makeup (and hair) became ever bigger, and weirder, often with a use of colors that were much more adventurous than the blue, lavender and turquoise tones of the 1970's. Warm tones were prominent for eye makeup in the 1980's, such as orange, pink, yellow and red. The dark shadows are layered with bright and light highlights, much more so than the nearly monotone eyes of the 1960's and 70's.  

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...

Margueritte Pittard showing a combination of bright and pastel warm tones that remind me of the early and mid 80's eye makeup styles.

A seedling showing very "pretty in pink" combination of pastel tones. 

Rosy Complexion shows the lighter watermark eye and edge that reminds me of some of the light and dark combinations of the 80's.

Jurassic Fiesta gives me the impression of some of the bright and loud, high-contrast eye makeup styles of the 80's, sort of like the eye makeup of the models in the Robert Palmer video 'Addicted to Love'.

Zahadoom shows the dark blotch eye in plum on a lavender background that reminds me of this tonal combination from the period, especially the strong blotch contouring of some styles from the 80's.

Red Eyed Fantasy shows the bright red eye and edge that reminds me of the red shadow and eyeliner that was seen some in the early to mid 1980's.

Queen's Circle shows plum and purple-lavender colors with the long extended eye point coming far up the midrib. This reminds me of some of the 'goth' eyeliner styles and dark coloring with light highlight styles popular in the 1980's.

Glamour Eye
Alien Corsage
With the advances in the eye/edge types, we now have very advanced combinations of eye/edge types with teeth, frills, hooks and knobs, double and triple edges, patterns, etc. These very complex eye/edge types go beyond any of the individual decades I have outlined above and can be found in all of them.This extreme end of all the periods falls into a category that I call Glamour Eyes.

The Glamour Eye is not confined to any one time period. In fact, the award for most famous of all Glamour Eyes must go to Bette Davis in the movie 'Of Human Bondage (1934 - in collage above). Lady Gaga often wears the Glamour Eye look. The 1980's had many famous Glamour Eyes. And the look owes much to such 1960's classic movies as Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor. Cher has been know to dabble on the glamorous edge of this category. Gloria Swanson gave a demented parody in 'Sunset Boulevard' (1950) as Norma Desmond, as did Bette Davis in 'Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?' (1962). Angelic Houston wore a more gothic and dramatic version of the Glamour Eye as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family movies from the 1990's.

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...

Cobalt Rings without much eye pattern. 

Cobalt Rings a few days later showing strong eye patterning. 

Got Attitude definitely has attitude! 

Wow Factor always wows me!

Inviting Romance is a softer Glamour Eye. 

Some What Odd is somewhat odd...and lovely!

Mildred Mitchell was one of the earliest Glamour Eyes I grew.

Fashion Police...if you have ever watched the show, you know what  a Glamour Eye is already...

I have to say that the Glamour Eye style of daylily flower is probably my very favorite, mainly because they are so heavily layered with phenotype genes and modifiers that it causes an extremely complex phenotype expression. With my love for intricacy and pattern, there is no way these could not be my very favorite combination of colors.

I want to stress that it isn't what the edging is made of - be there ruffles, teeth, knobs, bumps, piecrust or even tailored edges - as long as there are multiple colors in the eye and edge. The form combinations can enhance this look, but they don't make the look. The look is made through the complexity of color that combines to make the overall first impression of multiple layers and rings of contrasting color and wide tonal-value variations.

Wire Edges
Ida's Magic

The classic wire edge cultivar is Ida's Magic. Almost all of these probably descend right back to Ida's Magic. I love this look, especially the pink version with bright yellow wire edge (with piecrust, teeth or heavy ruffling). I also like the red flower with the white wire edge also. There is also occasionally a very thin wire edge visible in some of the fulva clones.

H. fulva 'Korean' (Apps) showing a very fine yellow wire edge on sepals and petals.

There is a lot I want to say about this type, but I am going to save most of that for when I write about formed edges in the upcoming posts on forms. I wanted to mention this here, because in addition to form, this type also encompasses color contrasts to create the look. The coloring and the form are equally important. 

I have heard many people criticize these because the pinks and lavenders are "muddy" (allegedly), but I don't know how you can expect a flower with a yellow under-color to have a "clean" pink or lavender tone. I would suggest that if you want this type to have "clean" tones, the wire edge needs to be white.

Of this group, three of my favorites have been Belle of Ashwood, Edna Selman and Clean Slate. These types remind me of Rococo design, Jane Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, a pink Cadillac with gold trim and frilly ball gowns. There will be much more coming up on those influences in a later installment on form.
Belle of Ashwood

Edna Selman

Clean Slate

Edge/No Eye
She's Got The Look
These are truly lovely and one of my favorite color pattern combinations. These are more subtle than the big, overdone eyes and edges, but they are very pleasing in the garden and in the landscape. They make an excellent backdrop to gaudier cultivars, and they are lovely as the focal point in front of a swath of self-colored flowers.
Edge/No Eye near spider seedling

I suspect that the eye/no edge type arose from increasing the width of the midrib, until the pale midrib covers most of the flower, revealing the under-color, while the anthocyanic color is restricted to the outer edge of the flower. Some of these are very distinct from the time they open, while others fade out in the center as the day progresses so show the strongest edge with pale petal center in the evening.
Wild One

Measure of Happiness

In this look, you can have any background color from white to yellow to gold, with any anthocyanic tone on the outer edge. However, I know of a few lavender colored flowers that show a darker purple/lavender edge, but have no eye, such as Bob Selman's Barbara Garren and Ron Reimer's Ethereal Lavender. I am not certain that this look is genetically the same as the classic eye/no edge look, as the lavenders would have a full anthocyanic layer, just more intensely pigmented on the edges, though I do think fading and lighter midribs are involved in both types. Both types are equally lovely. Of that I have no doubt!
Barbara Garren

Ethereal Lavender

These types remind me of clouds with sunlit edges, ripples in water, cotton candy and many classic picotee versions of such flowers such as dahlias, begonia, cosmos, amaryllis and desert rose.
Beautiful Edgings is the classic cultivar of this look. It is a light cream yellow with pink edges.

Willow Dean Smith

I find these to be soft and appealing and I think they are an interesting and essential phenotype in the garden. If you have never grown any of the edge/no eye types, you should try one or two.

Patterned Eyes
Patterned Eye Seedling
Finally we come to patterned eyes. These are very popular right now, and with good reason. The patterns are enchanting and lovely. They draw in the eye and make you get up close and personal with the flower. There is so much potential yet to be realized in this group. There is also much work to be done.

This group shows some problems, in addition to their enchanting, whimsical visual appeal. They tend toward heavily "canoed" or inward-rolled petals which, while it allows the sepal pattern to be seen, hides the petal pattern. They also can be very muddy, because there will be three or more colors blending within the flowers and the result can be a smeared mess. However, I am optimistic that these issues can be dealt with and we see many new, lovely versions introduced each year.

To me, when I see these types, I see, obviously, stained glass, but I also see several other things. One thing I see, especially in the cultivars with rings of color, is a rainbow, but more than just a rainbow, I see the Tibetan image of the  Jalu or Jalus, called the 'Rainbow body' in English.
 The rainbow body is a radiant energy radiated by realized Buddhist saints, according to Buddhist tradition, and is much like the halos of Christian saints in Christian traditions. Because I am familiar with Tibetan art, I am familiar with Thangka paintings of the rainbow body and have always found the rainbow body thangkas to be my favorite type of thangka, so to me, I am just naturally going to see this in the rainbow-eyed daylilies.
Priscilla's Rainbow

Pacific Rainbow

The broken patterns may look amazing, but when I look at them, I see many aspects of nature. I see butterfly wing patterns, Mandelbrot patterns, cellular structures, mandalas from many cultures and of course, stained glass windows.
A collage of intricate patterns from nature, with the famous rose stained glass window in the center.

Solaris Symmetry with a subtle pattern of blues and lavenders.

Striking seedlings with purple ray eye, green throat and an orange line between the two.

Four Beasts in One showing its very clean background color of bright yellow.

Asheville White Winged Dove showing its doves very clearly.
Photo-Bob Selman

Energy Ribbon showing its lovely rings of bright, clean color.
Photo-Ron Reimer

Tempest in a Teacup is a striking combination of watermark, applique and patterned eye.

Whale Tails is a great pattern, here showing the 'whale's tails' it is named for.

These types are all lovely and I very much enjoy looking at them and working with them. I look forward to what the future holds for patterns.

Fading Patterns
Pigment of Imagination - Midday
We touched on fading patterns a bit in the last installment, when I spoke about the Bird Goddess image I see in certain fading edge types, but in this section I want to talk about the faders such as Pigment of Imagination.

Pigment of Imagination (POI) is an amazing flower. I have only seen a couple of non-related cultivars like it (Foar Bizar and one other - name escapes me), but POI shows more and deeper blue than either of the others. There are also newer introductions and unnamed seedlings that have come out of Pigment of Imagination that show this effect.

In addition to the fading allowing this amazing blue pigment to show through, it ends up by late evening being a very interesting eye/no edge type.
POI at 8 pm showing the lovely double edge of blue and purple on a cream/blue background.

The look of POI is amazing and beautiful and holds much potential for the development of true blue daylily flowers, and POI itself certainly makes me think of the Rainbow Body thangkas of Tibet, but what I see as a potential for the fading color types goes far beyond just a blue daylily, or more cultivars that are just iterations of POI itself.

I suspect that this fading pattern can be combined with any and all of the other pattern types and forms to create amazing new types that we haven't even thought of yet. I hope people will explore the fading trait in many backgrounds. I also hope that people will take the time to ensure that the introductions that come out of POI are exemplary plants with vigor and great plant traits, and not just focus on the flowers while ignoring all else. This is too amazing a breath-through to let fail through not bringing it onto the very best plants.
I am excited about the fading trait and look forward to seeing where it goes in the future and as it is brought into the tetraploid level.

So that brings us to the end of this rather long installment. I hope you have enjoyed my insights and viewpoint on color and color combinations. Please remember that these posts are just my opinions. Your opinions may differ and I welcome that. Go do what you want, like things for your own reasons and make your own unique art. That is the best thing you can possibly contribute to the daylily world - your own unique vision. This is mine.

Next we will begin to look at my tastes in forms, and why I like those particular forms.