Best of the Webflowers

Late Winter Florals by Swallows & Damsons + Best of the Web

by Grace Bonney

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This week has been a whirlwind of work behind the scenes here at D*S as we work on an exciting new launch (stay tuned in the next week or two!), plan a new print project and finalize details for some in-person events later this year. All this planning has been distracting me from the mountains of snow covering us at home and looking at the calendar for dates in April, May and June have been helpful reminders that warmer (and more colorful) days are ahead. Until then, Anna from Swallows & Damsons is here today with a beautiful, late-winter floral arrangement to cheer us up and bring some bright colors into our winter palette. Read on after the jump to learn about three beautiful arrangements she made using this season’s most vivid florals. xo, grace

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 Photography by India Hobson, Florals by Anna of Swallows & Damsons 

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“The first necessity of beauty in color is gradation. The second necessity in color is mystery or subtlety. It is the best possible sign of a color when nobody who sees it knows what to call it, or how to give an idea of it to anyone else…” –John Ruskin, The Elements of Drawing 1857I find that at this time of year, I think about color more than ever. Months have passed using very little, winter whites and deep dark moody tones have been the staple. Suddenly there’s that feeling of hope. The worst of the weather has passed and the promise of spring is in sight. For me, the use of color at this time is key. Not only because the seasonal flowers are appearing in abundance, but to reflect the awakening that a lighter time is nigh. There may still be frost on the ground but there’s anticipation of change in the air.

It is of great value to keep pushing oneself creatively, to use the colors that I’m not instinctively drawn to and then explore the gradation. Too often my go-to scheme is muted, subtle and melancholy — it seems wrong, however, not to experiment a little as a new season approaches. I regularly change backgrounds and bring in flashes of complementary colors with objects or furniture.

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We have spent a lot of time looking at the color wheel in our house, as my 5-year-old son is an aspiring artist and revisiting the basics is always a good thing. I’m more interested now in where one color turns into another — that middle ground when paired up with its complementary middle ground is currently where I find my magic. Think browny/mustard yellow with a cool blue/lilac/grey. The concept sounds almost disgusting yet I can see the mystery that Ruskin talks about in this pairing. In these arrangements I’m exploring variation in tone, whether they be bright or muted I’m choosing to commit to a color and explore it from its deepest hue through to its lightest. From its coolest tone to its warmest. Calling on its neighbors a little to join the party. The colors I can’t describe, all harmonious in a visual feast.I’ve taken inspiration from nature and what seasonally ocurs in February. The fresh, greeny yellow shoots, pale pinks in the blossom buds, poisonous shades of orange and red mushrooms, the darkness of the bare soil and blackened Brambles. The longer days are also creeping in with lighter, brighter days and epic wild weather resulting in strange sunrise and sunsets.What happens when you bring a fresh, clean pop of white into otherwise murky shades of orange and peach? It lifts and lightens, but also dilutes the intensity of color. If instead we bring a darker tone into the palette this will give a more exaggerated, saturated look. By creating depth we allow each color to shine.I totally surprised myself on this occasion by falling for the brightest and most intense arrangement of oranges. From almost red vermillion, to salmon and rust with bursts of white, wine and coral, I couldn’t help but feel the warmth of the sunset tones and a renewed energy for remaining weeks of winter. —Anna of Swallows & Damsons 

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