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A weekend getaway to Ticino provided the inspiration for Tulipano. We had not travelled far, but it felt like we were a world away from home. The unique nature and panoramic landscapes were breathtaking, while the Mediterranean climate provided a welcome change from the rain we had left behind.

As we walked along the lakeshore wondering where we would end up, we stumbled upon Ciani Park. Abundant with colorful plants and flowers that had been nurtured to perfection, it was unsurprising to learn that this is known as Lugano's green pearl. The park was full of rare, majestic and exotic species of trees and foliage. Tulips of all shapes and colors populated the wide flowerbeds neatly decorated to accentuate the beauty of the lake and rugged mountains rising out of it. Red, yellow, white and purple, the tulips danced quietly, perfectly offsetting the bright blue green lake that was more deeply tinted than the sky. We watched a while as they gently swayed to and fro.

What do the flowers do when they get tired of standing straight?
One of the photos that stood out from the others taken that weekend, captured Lake Lugano sandwiched between a tulip-filled flowerbed and Monte San Salvatore. Despite its beauty, the scene as a whole would have been too much for a single print, we knew it would be best to keep it simple.

We started by experimenting with tulip forms. At the onset, we were under the impression that tulips were pretty standard in their shape. However, after several iterations, we realized this was not at all the case. We were desperately trying to capture the daintiness of the individual tulips, while trying to keep the shapes as organic as possible. Soon we had sketched out four different forms with which we were happy.

The configuration of the tulips in the print was chosen to reflect the neatly lined up tulips we had seen dancing along the lakeshore. We chose to mix up the ordering of the four forms across the design and to keep the placement loose and natural. A simple repeat of the pattern was chosen to emphasize the beauty that can exist in something so simple.
Wallpaper color
Perhaps because of their association with spring, yellow tulips in particular radiate cheerful thoughts and sunshine. While we wanted to capture this feeling, we also wanted to add a bit of individuality to the flowers and decided that a two-tone approach might work best.

We started by experimenting with different shades of yellow, wondering whether this would be enough to capture the feel we were after. It didn't quite work as we had hoped. We opened up the color spectrum and started by introducing some red to our yellow. Soon we found a warm bright orange that worked perfectly. Finally, the stems were shaded green, as we wanted the individual flowers to represent reality as closely as possible.

We had quite some difficultly identifying the background color for the print. The natural starting point was a blue or a green, as it would have provided the most realistic depiction of what we had observed. However, neither of us felt that it quite captured the warmth that we wanted to portray with this print. Naturally, we therefore moved towards red tones but once again, the contrast seemed too stark. After testing the whole color spectrum, or so it felt at least, we finally found "the one": a shade somewhere between red and yellow, with a hint of orange. It felt like perfect backdrop to display the pretty tulips.

Looking at the end result, it is difficult to imagine why it took us so long to find the right colors. As our daughter would say, when in doubt: pink. We probably could have saved a lot of time and energy had we just listened to her in the first place.

Do you think we have captured the beauty of tulips? What color combinations would you have tried with Tulipano?