macro monday | Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder

Peony | Neely Wang

Three years ago, I planted peony bulbs in my garden, excitedly waiting in anticipation for the pink fluffy blossoms characteristic of peonies to appear. But for the past two years, only leaves have popped up. No blooms. No blossoms. Just leaves. After reading something about peonies, I realized that I had planted the bulbs too deeply, which causes them not to bud. This spring, I dug them up and replanted them, and with much delight, buds began to form in April! I was so excited, but as they opened up, the heat and sun were so strong that same week that they soon became burnt, and the leaves fell almost as quickly as they formed. I was heartbroken! But as I kept looking at these withered blossoms, there was something so graceful, refined and strong about them even in their demise. Some of you may not agree that they are beautiful, but I’m a firm believer of beauty even in brokenness.

I’ve recently begun to try and better define my style and to capture the essence of what truly inspires me. I think it has something to do with finding beauty in everything, even when the world may find it ugly, broken or not worth a second glance. And not just beauty in nature, but also beauty in people, objects, places, and ideas. Just some thoughts… would love to hear what you all think and how you would describe my style. Much thanks!


  1. I planted giant allium in my garden. They budded up this year, and my husband and I were excited for them to open. We had planted them in our old house, and we would love to see them bloom here, too. My oldest came along with a stick, and whacked them all off, and my four-year old daughter started to cry. We put the buds in water, but fist sized purple blooms are not in our future. My son said he was trying to dead-head. Sometimes the things that are not perfect make the most powerful memories.

  2. Well Neely…I did the same thing years ago, and planted my bulbs to deep. On top of this…the squirrels must of smelled them and dug the rest of them up. Sigh. As for your photo…it is beautiful just the way it is.

  3. Love what your wrote. It is so inspiring. I think the beauty in people is when it’s genuine and truthful from a person’s heart!

    • Thank you, Grace. I love what you said, too! Yes, there’s such a beauty in authenticity and genuineness. I see that especially in you, my dear!

  4. I did a piece featuring a thistle some time ago… Folks wanted to know why I featured a “weed”. Yet, I saw it differently than they… I like your image!!!

    • Glad I could share, Cornelia, even though sometimes it’s harder for me to express things verbally than it is visually :). Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well! It’s always appreciated!

  5. I like the idea of spotting the beauty everywhere, even in unlikely objects. Certainly develop that idea in your art. I saw the withered flower and immediately recognized your vision in capturing it. I tend that way myself at times. If all things are the same, then looking at it differently can make all the difference. All the best to you Neely Wang as you receive your creative muse!//mm

    • Thank you so much, milkyminx! I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and well wishes! I’m glad you were able to recognize my vision in this image — that is my hope! Thanks again.

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