Ku-mie Kim's Story Behind the Art

Northern sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Selection of the subject

Initially I was most interested in Magnolias among the Bartram's plant list. Due to the unusually warm spring we had last year, however, magnolia bloomed much earlier than I was anticipating and I just missed the right timing. Soon it was already summer. Then, I decided to paint the poison ivy, not because of its aesthetic appeal, but because of educational purpose, so people can correctly identify the plant and avoid the potential risk of poisonous reaction. I got more than enough specimen, including hairy roots and flowers, from the Morton Arboretum. I managed to work through about one third of the painting, when I finally gave up. It was risky and tricky...I had to be very careful not to touch any part of the specimen in bare hand... I had to put a note "DO NOT TOUCH" whenever I was not around...I had to make a big space in the fridge to keep the specimen...no one liked it! Too challenging. So I decided to give up. Now it was autumn.
The northern sea oats were growing in my garden. One day they caught my eyes.  The delicate stems with graceful curve, dangling ears dancing in the wind...I hurried to check the Bartram's list and it was THERE. That's how I got to paint the "Northern sea oats". The ears had soft green color when I first started painting. Over the next few weeks it gradually changed to darker purplish brown color. 
 
Description of the artwork
 
Three stems of Northern sea oats in various height came into the view from the left side of the paper. One at the forefront is most curved and low, two others more upright but different height. Each stem has the narrow long blade-shaped green leaves at the proximal part. The color at the tip of some leaves are changed to yellowish brown. Distal part of the stem bears multiple ears, which are connected by thready spray to the stem. The dangling ears are rather flat,  paper-thin and light. 
 
What would you hope people would notice they view this work?
The flowing graceful curvature and submissive appearance of the plant
 
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  • (C) Ku-mie Kim