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Dahlias and 7th Octdala

Tara Austin started her Octdala paintings in 2022, a series inspired by the language of rosemaling. In this blog post, Tara writes about completing her 7th Octdala, inspired by the delightful dahlia. 

Posted on May 10, 2024
by Tara Austin

I have been drawn to radial symmetry, it is defined as symmetry around an axis like a star or flower. I appreciate the spiral effect radial symmetry can achieve which keeps the eye dancing around.

The Octdala paintings are an example of radial symmetry and I recently finished the 7th painting in this series. I’ll be putting it into a white frame soon and looking for its new home. The other radial beauties growing in my studio are dahlia flowers. They are exuberant blooms full of variety and captivating geometry.

My mom and I have been growing Wisconsin Red varieties of dahlias for eight years. I was gifted a bag of these tubers by the head cook at the Kitchi Gammi Club, Scott. Scott’s Dad made his career at Sam’s Florist in West Duluth and was working there well into his 80s. They are a gardening family.

The Wisconsin red variety is very hardy for our region. They grow over 3ft tall with dark green leaves and bright crimson flowers with lime green eyes. Dahlias are worth the effort to store the bulbs in a cool place over the winter, and the bulbs will multiply. I am looking forward to planting these bulbs soon and watching them grow into a beautiful summer season.