Oct 6, 2012

Serendipitous spider sculpture

Last week, I was driving through the town where I live and noticed some flowers on the curb that had no leaves. The lilies, shooting through the ground with only their stems, are a late summer blooming plant. I don’t know how I remembered the name Lycoris.

The very next day it was serendipitous for me to discover the sculpture I came upon. I was in New Bern to teach a watercolor workshop during the Craven County Art Festival. I had met my students under the veranda behind the city’s Convention Center. In search of a plein air scene to paint as a demo, my eyes couldn’t seem to escape this beautiful landmark.

Spider Lily Sculpture, 7 x 9½" watercolor
At first I thought the kinetic sculpture was a “whirligig” by famous North Carolina whirligig sculptor Vollis Simpson. Not so. Upon reading the plaque under the sculpture, I found the name of the sculpture is Spider Lily, named after the plant Lycoris Radiata. I learned that this prized plant species made its 1850s debut into the United States in New Bern.

Commissioned and contributed by Dr. Jim Congleton, the sculpture by California artist Susan Pascal Beran was dedicated to the city of New Bern in December of last year.

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