George Harrison’s Love of Gardening & My Floral Pop Painting
The speech of flowers excels the flowers of speech…
Artist Kerwin Blackburn explores how George Harrison’s love of gardening inspired his own pop art painting of the Beatle – capturing the spirit of Flower Power in the 1960s and 1970s
In this post, I celebrate one of my most striking and popular By Kerwin pop art paintings – a vibrant floral tribute to the legendary George Harrison. This acrylic masterpiece blends pop art with the tranquillity of nature, featuring real dried flowers that infuse a surreal touch to the iconic face of the “Quiet Beatle.”
Inspired by Harrison’s love for gardening and the colourful spirit of the 1960s, this artwork explores the connection between his passion for gardening and my unique painting technique. Linking art, nature, and music, below I explore the landscape that fuelled Harrison’s creativity.
George Harrison found solace and inspiration in gardening, viewing it as a therapeutic and meditative pursuit that grounded him amidst the pressures of fame, providing a tangible connection to nature and a source of enduring creativity. He embodied the essence of Flower Power in the 1960’s and ‘70s.
George Harrison’s iconic musical and songwriting prowess remains a visual symphony celebrating the harmonious convergence of artistic expression and the natural world.
Listen to and watch me discuss the floral inspiration behind my George Harrison painting, live from one of my exhibitions, below. Read on to learn why gardening was so important to the Quiet Beatle.
Watch me discussing my George Harrison painting – and also the behind-the-scenes video!
What was George Harrison’s Favourite Hobby?
George Harrison’s favourite hobby, beyond the world of music (or, some would argue, greater even than music once he tired of the industry’s politics), was gardening. The “Quiet Beatle” had a deep and abiding love for cultivating plants, considering it more than just a pastime.
George Harrison found solace and inspiration in gardening, viewing it as a therapeutic and meditative pursuit that grounded him amidst the pressures of fame, providing a tangible connection to nature and a source of enduring creativity. George Harrison’s spirit and music embodied the essence of Flower Power in the 1960’s and 1970s.
Why Did George Harrison Like Gardening?
For Harrison, gardening was a therapeutic and meditative activity that allowed him to connect with nature and find solace away from the demands of fame. His green-thumb pursuits weren’t merely about tending to flowers and plants; they represented a profound expression of his spiritual grounding.
Through gardening, Harrison found inspiration, a sense of longevity, and a peaceful retreat, showcasing that his favourite hobby transcended the boundaries of fame and music, offering a glimpse into a more introspective and grounded side of the iconic musician.
George Harrison’s Love for Gardening
Beyond the stage and recording studio, George Harrison found solace and passion in the world of gardening. His green-thumb pursuits went far beyond a mere hobby; they were a profound expression of his connection to nature. Harrison’s love for gardening was well-documented, with his wife Olivia Harrison even once stating, “George wanted most of all to be remembered as a gardener, one who ‘wrote one or two good tunes.” For George Harrison, cultivating plants mirrored the creative process of composing timeless music.
Known for his introspective nature, Harrison often retreated to his garden, finding inspiration in the simplicity of tending to plants. The meditative quality of gardening offered him a respite from the chaotic world of fame, allowing him to nurture not just flowers but his inner creativity. In interviews, he spoke eloquently about the therapeutic benefits of working the soil and watching life unfold in his garden.
As we explore the connection between Harrison and gardening – and my pop art painting tribute of the Beatle – it becomes clear that his green pursuits were more than a pastime—they were a source of spiritual grounding. This section delves into the Quiet Beatle’s lesser-known passion, shedding light on the profound impact that nurturing nature had on his life and, consequently, his artistry.
The Influence of Nature on George Harrison’s Music
George Harrison’s profound connection to nature, gardening, and flowers left a lasting mark on his songwriting, infusing his music with a unique depth and spiritual resonance. In iconic tracks like “Here Comes the Sun” and “The Inner Light,” Harrison’s lyrical brilliance unfolds like petals in full bloom, capturing the essence of his love for the natural world.
“Here Comes the Sun,” written during a challenging period, blossoms with optimism and renewal, drawing inspiration from the beauty of a sunrise and the promise of a new day. In “The Inner Light,” Harrison delves into Indian philosophy, intertwining the wisdom of the East with a musical tapestry that mirrors the tranquillity of a meditative garden.
In 2016 I was lucky enough to visit India and Rishikesh – and to the exact ashram where The Beatles stayed and studied meditation in the 1960s. This was an inspirational visit – read my blog post about this here.
Harrison’s Nature-Inspired Lyrics
These examples showcase how nature served as a wellspring of inspiration for Harrison, shaping not only the thematic elements of his songs but also influencing the overall tone and mood. Other nature references can be found in his songs “Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)”, “Blow Away”, “The Answers at the End”, and many more.
The incorporation of natural imagery added layers of meaning to his lyrics, creating a poetic and introspective quality that resonated deeply with audiences. Harrison’s ability to infuse his music with the beauty and serenity of the natural world reflects a harmonious fusion of art and nature, making his contributions to the musical landscape not only melodically rich but spiritually profound.
His love of gardening was the perfect inspiration for my own acrylic pop art painting in 2022. It was my first painting to incorporate real dried, preserved flowers. These make for a striking and optimistic portrait. The green and yellow colour scheme sets the gardening theme off perfectly.
Prints of this one are available in multiple sizes from my online shop, with fast worldwide delivery.
Flower Power in the 1960s and 1970s
George Harrison’s love of gardening and flowers also resonated with the cultural spirit of the Beatles era and his solo career during the 1970s. ‘Flower Power’ inspired floral clothing for both women and men – and also captured the cultural attitudes of the times too.
The concept of Flower Power emerged as a cultural phenomenon in the 1960s and 1970s, encapsulating a movement rooted in peace, love, and a rejection of societal norms. It found expression in vibrant art, soul-stirring music, and a collective push for societal change.
Flower Power represented a countercultural response to the turbulence of the times, advocating for harmony and embracing nature as a symbol of resistance.
This cultural movement significantly influenced various artistic mediums, including music, where George Harrison played a pivotal role. The Beatles, under Harrison’s influence, embraced Flower Power ideals in their music and public persona, promoting messages of love and unity. Harrison’s spiritual journey, infused with Eastern philosophies [LINK RISHIKESH POST], resonated with Flower Power’s call for inner peace and interconnectedness.
George Harrison persuaded the rest of The Beatles to join a meditation retreat in Rishikesh, India in 1968 – read how this inspired the White Album and my experience visiting the site where they stayed, here.
Infusing the Spirit of Flower Power Into My George Harrison Painting
My George Harrison portrait painting stands as a visual homage to this era and its values. By incorporating real dried flowers and utilising my Jackson Pollock-inspired action painting technique, it captures the essence of Flower Power’s vibrant, free-spirited aesthetic.
The infusion of nature into my portrait of George Harrison echoes the movement’s celebration of the natural world, making my artwork not just a visual spectacle but a profound nod to the Flower Power ideals that continue to inspire generations.
What do you like most about my George Harrison painting? Explore the rest of my music icon pop art paintings and shop prints in my online shop at www.bykerwin.com
My full range of Jackson Pollock-inspired acrylic paintings can be viewed at www.bykerwin.com – the originals and prints of these are available to purchase, with worldwide delivery. You can follow my art progress on Instagram and Facebook.