Floral and Landscape > Awakening of the Spirit
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Awakening of the Spirit

This was painted overlooking Lake Tarawera, Rotorua, North Island, New Zealand.
The Koru or spiral is the principal motif used in Maori carving. The unfurling fern frond or koru inspires this. It signifies "awakening, the process of growth, joy". The silver fern has been widely adopted as the national symbol. It takes its name from the silvery underside of the fronds.
I have always loved ferns, especially the spiral or "fiddlehead" part of the fern. I have tried to grow several varieties in my shade garden and made a design of them for my business card long before I even knew that this was a symbol of New Zealand.
My grandmother lived in Rotorua and my mother was born in Auckland. My grandmother died when I was still a child and my mother died when I was 16. I remember Maori pictures on the walls of my grandmother's house and landscape paintings that now that I have been to New Zealand look familiar. My desire to go and paint there was in part to discover something of my past. I always cherished a small brooch from New Zealand that my mother gave to me when I was 5 years old. I thought it was a feather. It wasn't until I was in New Zealand that I realized that it was a fern. Although I never found 'family' there, I felt as if I belonged.