Piece of the Week: Cosmos by the Pool, Picking Flowers for an Art Historian’s Dream Sequence


As the rest of the world sleepily dreams through early mornings, Janet Howard-Fatta gathers flowers.  

These mornings, amid golden swirls of pollen and blossom crowned fields, rival any sleeper’s dream.   

“Outside the colors in the garden are a symphony,” she says.

Our piece of the week, Cosmos by the Pool (25”x17”), an oil painting by Janet Howard-Fatta, captures this symphonic, natural dreaminess.


Cosmos by the Pool

“What I love about cosmos is their intense color, the chaos of the organic shapes and the shifts of value in the flowers themselves, juxtaposed to the delicateness of the petals” she says.

The composition’s long-stemmed flowers, each dotted with a golden center, wear their drooping pink petals like crane-necked gardeners in floppy hats.

“I had just returned from a hot day in the garden with a bouquet in hand. I was in love when I put the flowers in front of the pool. The water seemed to add another dimension,” says Howard-Fatta.

The blues and creams of the pool deck background have a tapering and shadowy quality that captures the easy delight of poolside daydream.


It is almost as if the painting itself could be a still from an art historian’s dream sequence: It is an anachronistic afternoon…Vincent Van Gogh and Richard Diebenkorn are debating about brushwork – cosmopolitans in hand – as they look at the setting light shimmer across David Hockney pool.   

Howard-Fatta’s own use of light enlivens the painting.

“When placed in the sunlight the very thin petals, with their transparencies and shadows, intensify,” says Howard-Fatta.

The artist moonlights as a gardener at a local greenhouse, Emmerich Greenhouses, a five-minute walk from her home. There, husband and wife owners, Chris and Ginny Emmerich, prepare bouquets to sell at New York City farmer’s markets.


Just as the bouquets offer glimpses of a country dream to a concrete, cramped city, the painting preserves the essence of springtime in an everlasting medium that transcends season and place.

The variety of flowers of the Emmerich’s fields become the language of her paintings; zinnias, sunflowers, lizzianthus, cosmos, verbena, ageratum cosmos, marigolds, celosia, snapdragons, and amaranth become the glossary of her a rich visual vocabulary.

Howard-Fatta’s appreciation for the beauty of these local bouquets, evidenced by the portfolio, has been long engraved on her heart.

See more of Janet Howard-Fatta’s art on UGalery