Nature, color & light

Liliane Blom & the influence of Norway

Photo courtesy of Liliane Blom
Blom is inspired by nature, particularly by the bright pink cherry blossoms that make springtime magical in Washington, D.C.

Christine Foster Meloni
Washington, D.C.

Norwegian Liliane Blom spoke to the women of Lakselaget D.C. about her digital art this March in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Growing up in Norway, Liliane Blom developed a deep love for nature. She spent a lot of time outdoors and had much freedom to roam and to explore. This is still true of Norwegian children today. When they are in preschool, they are mostly outdoors, rain or shine. Babies are put outside to sleep. Only when the temperature dips below -10 are they brought inside!

Blom also developed a love of color. Norwegian houses are traditionally painted in very bright colors on the outside as well as the inside. Kitchens are usually blue, for example. The colors in nature are also beautiful in Norway. Her favorite color is cobalt because it is the color of the sky in Norway after sunset in winter. This color lasts for many hours at this time of year. She also loves the glorious colors in the summer sunsets, particularly the pinks and yellows. Another special color for her is the light yellow-green of the new leaves in spring.

In her art Blom fuses painting and photography. She begins a work by taking digital photos. After spending considerable time repainting and photoshopping the individual images, she prints them onto canvas or watercolor paper. She then finishes the painting by adding oils and acrylics.

Photo courtesy of Liliane Blom

She also creates installations that are interactive, multi-sensory experiences. Her most recent installation, exhibited in the Kaplan Gallery in Rockville, Md., was “Pink—A Cherry Blossom Fantasy.” Blom was inspired by the beautiful cherry trees in her neighborhood. “I was astounded,” she writes, “the first spring I lived in Rockville to discover that the trees lining the street had the most amazing big, fluffy, dreamy blossoms. I am still amazed 25 years later. Still besotted.”

This installation, she continues, “is my way to freeze time, to hold on to the ephemeral, to share with you my pink fantasy that comes around just once a year for a few brief days or weeks if we are lucky.”

Viewers to this exhibit watched a video that showed cherry blossoms as they went from buds to flowers and then fell to the ground, where they created a lovely carpet of pink. Four 25-foot hand-painted “rivers” of silk fluttered in streams on the floor. And tissue-paper cherry blossoms were blowing around with the help of several small fans in a pink “cocoon room.”

One of Blom’s recent installations had a Norwegian theme, “Norwegian Nights.” To create this monumental work, she took about 40 photos of a mountain scene, stitched them together on her computer, printed them, and painted them. She then turned them into a wraparound panoramic photograph, which showed these Norwegian mountains in springtime, complete with a rainbow. The photograph was then enclosed in a glowing white cylindrical curtain that was seven feet tall and eight feet in diameter. When viewers parted the curtain and stepped inside, they felt a strong sense of peace.

Another beautiful installation was “On Golden Ponds,” in which Blom took photographs of the goldfish in a friend’s pond on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. They were taken in April when cherry blossom petals covered the pond. The intriguing prints showed multiple images: the fish below the water, the surface reflections on the pond, and the cherry blossoms on the surface.

Blom’s next exhibit, “Kaleidoscope,” is an immersive installation that will run at Artomatic in Crystal City, Va., through May 6. In the following description, she gives us a hint as to its content:

“Each of us is a kaleidoscope, an endless reflection of a million shards of things seen, felt, and experienced. And we carry in our bones the kaleidoscope of generations past, the migration of millennia across the globe, and even the churning ocean and the song of distant stars.”

Blom earned a B.A. from George Washington University with a major in Fine Arts and a minor in Art History. She has an A.A. in Photography from Montgomery College. To see her beautiful work online, go to www.LilianeBlom.com and www.ArtBlom.com.

The Lakselaget (Salmon Club) D.C. Chapter is an organization of professional women who swim against the current and college and university students who are Norwegian, of Norwegian descent, or are interested in all things Norwegian.

This article originally appeared in the April 7, 2017, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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