These thoughts are not at all exclusive to me alone. My friend Terry is pouring over seed catalogs... in preparation for his upcoming new gardening business venture. His garage... once only a Boston Bruin "man cave" is transformed into an indoor greenhouse... filled to overflowing with newly begun and flourishing plants and flowers. I know this ... because I tended his gardens while he was vacationing with his wife in Cuba for ten days. His... and my own garden thoughts were indeed "in season" - despite the outside weather.
However... here ends the garden thought idea within its normal context. As is ever the case with me... an event can trigger a fertile exploration and easy jump from one domain to more existential level... or personal level of thought. I'll throw this thought of mine out for each of you to consider. Perhaps it might make sense to you as well... and that it might "kick start" further fertile exploration in your own "gardens".
"Art is the garden of Humanity. And we, as artists... are its constant gardeners."
Gardening is indeed an art form ... when it is pursued with passion... dedication and extensive effort and planning. These... to my own way of thinking are the very building blocks and tenets upon which one builds one's art expression.
The blocking in of passages of color and variations of form and structure are what makes a garden eye-catching. This management of space approximates exactly the approach every artist undertakes in the creation of a new canvas. Making sense of an otherwise empty space in one's own terms... and no gardener does it the same as another - at least... they shouldn't!
There exist countless self help books with tips to get started... but it really comes down to getting the tools necessary... a good set of gloves... and to joyfully... " getting down and dirty". Success can hardly be expected to be instant... and the title of "master gardener" is never earned... simply by attaching those words to oneself. That accreditation must be earned through continual growth and achievement... over a life time.
Experimentation and risk are essential to improve one's garden. Sharing ideas and time with more mature participants help one to develop a personal approach... let's call it "style" which is recognizably unique and different from that of others. Aim beyond the ordinary. Avoid patterning behaviors. Follow your own passion... develop your own garden plot. Add to it as you go forward. IN the end ... you will have your own Eden. That... should be the only valid reason for pursuing this dream. Dream... Sow and Share. Then dream some more!
In closing today's post... I too... am pouring through catalogs of sorts... sketchbooks and picture files to decide upon the varieties for my Spring Show. My planting is well underway... and a few have flowered already. Others are works in progress... while others are still to be determined.
Kate, the gallery curator and I have arrived at a theme for the show. The works will by and large center upon "Bruce Sherman - On the River - A Homecoming". It will open on Thursday March 19th and will close on April 25th.
Below is a sample of a simple 6 x 12 inch "seed"... a smallish plein air black sheep that I completed right from our dock across the road back in late October. It was done purely for my own entertainment on a canvas that had been kicking around... without purpose for far too long. That was part of the challenge for the day... to make something from a "sow's ear". It pleased me enough... but wasn't a format that I would usually work on.
My daughter Allison came to have supper and an evening with us.,.. as she does from time to time to escape the rigors of her academic duties at Queen's University in Kingston. As is always the case... she never fails to want to see "what is new with Dad" in the studio. She has been a wonderful supporter of my journey clear back to her childhood years.
She always had a great eye... and could be counted upon to always offer objectivity in her criticism. And I do value that. Her breadth of knowledge in her field leaves me both proud... and humbled. Watching her conduct a recent lecture... and to see the response to her lecture by the hundred and seventy five young and aspiring minds in the lecture room made my entire life seem full of purpose.
I... am greatly blessed!
Her eye caught this small "orphan" and her attention and excitement immediately jumped above that shown to the larger canvases. She said simply, "Oh Dad , I love this wee piece. It's a masterwork. This should be included in your show. As well... you should do more. Have you ever thought of making this one wing of a small triptych? It would be delightful... very representative of the River scenery along the Parkway... and it could be hung in so many places in the ordinary home." I said with a shrug... "Hadn't thought of that Sweetie".
Days later... I purchased two more 6 x 12 inch canvases... toned them with acrylic burnt sienna as a ground. But it was now winter... what to do??? I contemplated using the snow forms on the rocks as a guide to place granite rock formations... then just to fudge the colors. However... after a lengthy search of my digital files I came across an image that I could (sort of) use to guide my painting process to complete the other two panels.
Here is the result of our collaborative venture Allison... just as you envisioned. Thanks for your supportive encouragement and enthusiasm.
"Time Stands Still... on the River" - triptych 6 x 36 inches
Good Gardening... Good Painting... and Sweet Thoughts of Spring... to ALL!!!!
Below is a jpeg taken after the triptych panels were painted around all of their perimeters. NOTE - that the difference of tone (perceived by two of my ardent... hawk-eyed blogging friends Sherry and Keith)... in the the space between the left and center panels was caused by the angle created by the back support creating glare on the entire left panel.
Hope this posting shows the real picture... sans the glare in the first photo.