The spring has been long and cool, giving me time to get ready for summer art shows. I hope you will mark your calendar for the 2014 Art Drive on August 9th and 10th. There will be new contemplative landscape imagery as well as work from a project I began last October. Called the Garden and the Brook, it is an on-going study of natural forms found both in the botany of my garden and in the water world of streams, ponds and tidal flows.
As I try to shape this project with words, not images, it occurs to me how much Garden and the Brook reflects my life-long journey of learning to see. Although I grew up along the ocean, it wasn’t until I became a river rafter in my thirties that I first heard the expression, “read the water.” In the whitewater rafting world, reading water is how you chart a course through rapids. It is how you follow the “tongue” into the current, avoid standing waves and other obstacles, and catch the eddy when you want, rather than the eddy catching you. Decades later, along the gentle flow of an autumn stream, I found myself plotting courses for sticks and leaves through “rapids” created by elevation drops measured in inches rather than feet. Here I was, once again reading the water. But for the first time, I realized that the shapes and curves created by fluid dynamics and ripple geometry have their counterparts not only in the great rivers of the West, but also in my garden. This is not a particularly original insight. But back when I learned to read water I knew nothing of gardening and, to me, botany was only a lab course. I never would have made the connection, never would have seen it. At that point in my life I had no idea that “painting with plants” was something that would become such a great source of pleasure and inspiration.
Today I am filled with gratitude for this gift of time to discover and see the world anew.
Here is a sneak peak of the Garden and the Brook.