Saturday, April 26, 2014

Art and Gardening

April has been packed with with activity, both inside and outside.  I think everyone is feeling a surge of energy and excitement about the greening and flowering of the land.  I am taking a quick break from gardening activity to have a tall glass of iced tea and reflect on a thought that occurred to me as I was cleaning the perennial beds.  The word that comes to me is observation.  Both in art and gardening (not to mention numerous other disciplines) to really see and understand what's going on you have to spend some quiet time observing with all your senses.  My mentor, Phyllis Disher Fredricks, repeatedly tells me to keep looking at my subject--with open eyes and squinting eyes.  She also thinks you need to walk about 10 miles to complete a painting.  That is to say, you paint for awhile and then you walk back several feet and study what you've done.  This is good advice and I keep reminding myself of it.  With gardening, I also stand back to observe the overall effect of a planting, but I also like to get down close to the earth in Spring time to see what surprises mother nature has bestowed.  Today I found about a dozen baby cone flowers--yippee!  Another big surprise was the herb angelica.  A friend had given me seed and I had managed to grow three good plants.  When we came back from a month-long trip out west, only one plant had survived and even that seemed half dead.  Well, I have a vigorous angelica emerging that promises to be a glorious specimen. 

Me and my camera

In progress

Tree peony bloom from this time last year.  Everything is late this season because of the prolonged winter., but at least the shrub is alive and full of buds.

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