The plant and fish species in my neighborhood inspired me. During summer, my family visits the Ballard Locks to watch the salmon climb the ladders. The observation windows fill with Sockeye, Coho, and King salmon, where the fish undergo the metamorphosis between salt and freshwater.
The painting invites viewers to contemplate intertwined cycles of the torch lily blooms and the salmon lifecycle. The story of salmon migrating upstream to give birth while replenishing the river's ecosystem with their body is a narrative of hope and rebirth.
At the same time, torch lilies begin sprouting their asparagus-like shafts filled with tightly packed seed clusters in the nearby neighborhoods. My fondness of the plant developed during the speculation of the plant's name, which I initially labeled “toilet brush bomb pops.” The Kniphofia, or Torch Lily, display of growth, flowering, seed formation, and dispersal mirrors that of the salmon's journey and alludes to a similar passage of time.
The similarities of the two organisms highlight the comforting and predictable cadence of season change that reminds me that growth and time passing happen willingly or otherwise.
The painting took two years to complete and is part of a larger animal and botanical concentration. During the span of time, most notably, my son was born, which led to many personal experiences of learning growth. The act of completing the painting in itself felt as if I, too, was journeying upstream.
But like the brilliance of any moment, the completion marks the closure of a chapter and the start of something new and beautiful, to which I hope to sprout yet another inspired piece of artwork in the coming seasons.