16 Nov Planting Seeds of Creativity
The Journey from Garden to Canvas
Join me as I explore the creative journey from inspiring gardens to a beautiful piece of artwork. Transforming spectacular natural garden wonders into beautiful pieces of art is a soulful rewarding process. Whether you’re an avid gardener or aspiring artist I invite you to come along.
After a lengthy gardening season my muscles appreciate the rest but still crave the movement that gardening demands; planting, digging, stretching, taking brief pause to take in surroundings – the bald eagle swooping overhead along a rock shoreline, the tiny spider scampering away as you rake the soil… loons calling across the water…. the hummingbird whizzing by to sip the bee balm, just some of so very many treasured garden moments imprinted on my brain.
Art and gardening are intricately woven together… one inspires the other.
Plants and garden landscapes are often used as a means of artistic impression and there is no doubt that natural beauty inspires magnificent works of art. Creativity is a response and reflection of the world around us. There is a strong link between the creative process and planting seeds for a garden. Planting a seed is a powerful act, to grow food with intent to harvest, to carry on a lineage of plants, to regenerate land, to bring back native pollinators, or simply to bring beauty to our environment. It is quite simply one of the most hopeful acts we can undertake as humans. We choose seeds for their unique qualities; colour, taste, smell and unique characteristics and we dare to plant them and trust that some cooperation from Mother Nature with nourishment and care.
There is a shared hope when a seed is planted and an idea sparked.
Gardening and art both require dedicated practice, patience and nurturing for good outcomes. Gardening is infused with creative process and intention… planting colours, textures, aromas… the blank canvas the soil that has been worked lovingly in preparation for receiving seeds. Days in the gardens pass slowly, thoughtfully and with great purpose… busy hands freeing your mind of life’s busy cares and worries. I’ve planted thousands of seeds, dug countless holes for perennials, spruced up blooms, soaked up more sunshine, and breathed in more fresh air than one could ask for.
This season was different though bringing a sense of urgency and concern.
There were days when work was tough because the air was acrid thick with smoke from forest fires. As I moved with purpose through the garden and flower fields. I couldn’t help but think “Our world is literally on fire”. We live in such a world of contrasts, and I often question the importance I place on creating beauty whether by planting a garden, bringing colour and creating a work of art. I remind myself that I am an artist and have purpose. To create artwork in this world is noble because it makes life worth living. I cannot imagine a world without art to bring healing, beauty and love.
Though I miss days in the garden I am enjoying the return to my creative projects. While my hands were busy planting, sowing, weeding, and raking my artist’s brain was soaking up colour, shape, aroma, texture, pattern, structure. What a soulful experience to revel in an animated flower field as a summer breeze passes, or to gaze at an ever changing skyscape casting shadows over fields. This natural world is a pure wonder. By surrounding myself with nature and gardens, I choose to expose my brain to an endless supply of nature’s stimuli.
How can I experience such beauty and not document it or try to recreate the exhilaration of that moment. Often I reflect on the soil beneath me as a world of marvelous microscopic life unfolds. Delicate winged creatures swoop in pollinating plants, tiny spiders scampering as I gently plant a seed, and it occurs to me this sacred ground is a massive living being filled with diverse ecosystems buzzing with life! It is pure inspiration.
Nurturing the creative soul
Cool weather brings a chill and the tools are snug in the garden shed for the season. Once busy hands rest and cradle a hot cup of tea in cozy quiet spaces. Now it’s only a matter of time before ideas begin percolating and bubbling over faster than I can process them. Garden experiences and memories are swirling around in my head and my brain is trying to process all the information. If every creative intention and idea in my head were to materialize there would be a virtual creative explosion!
Ever since my Mom gifted me The Artist’s Way, I’ve made time each morning to journal… to spill my unedited stream of consciousness onto the page… to free my mind of the chaos and clutter that gets in the way of getting things done. The journal pages now hold all the chaos, irritants, doldrums of everyday life…. And cheerful thoughts of encouragement for my artist begin to emerge. I often pull words and ideas from my journals to visually explore. Care for that artist well and creativity will come.
Gratitude and Sense of belonging
I am so grateful for the life experiences that shape me; years of work as a creative graphic designer taught me that anything is possible if you work hard and believe in yourself. It may not be exactly how you imagined it but it is indeed possible. The pandemic that brought so much fear and devastation brought with it an opportunity for me to turn my passion for gardening into meaningful work in a garden nursery, at a flower farm and as a gardener.
It has been a very creative summer, participating in the 2023 Huntsville Art Crawl where my art was hosted by our independent bookstore Cedar Canoe Books, and I also exhibited my paintings in late summer at Dwight Library Art Space. One of the wonderful little surprises from the Huntsville Art Crawl was Sketchy Art Bookmarks – a series of hand drawn ink and watercolour bookmarks that are proving to be quite popular not to mention a lot of fun to make! The bookmarks are available for sale at Cedar Canoe Books in Downtown Huntsville, or directly from me. I am very grateful to have supportive community arts organizations like the Huntsville Festival of the Arts and the Huntsville Art Society creating ongoing festivals and arts opportunities for local artists.
I am a gardener, artist, designer, mother, daughter, sister. More importantly I am a child of nature. Being in nature provides such a deep sense of calm acceptance and belonging. I belong. I am nature and nature is me. We are one.
Advice from an artist in the garden
- BE IN NATURE as often as you can
- SIT QUIETLY IN NATURE anywhere you can be alone for a few minutes and observe
- LISTEN TO NATURE Close your eyes and focus on the sounds what are you hearing can you visualize it
- LOOK what/who are you sharing this space with, a chickadee, squirrel, an ant? Imagine what they think of you, are you a giant? A mystery? What colours surround you?
- TOUCH feel the bark of a tree the blossom of a plant
- SMELL the fragrance of that flower
- FEEL how are you feeling at this moment?
- BREATH DEEPLY remember this moment and how it makes you feel
NEXT TIME you do this and you will… because you will treasure this!
- OBSERVE AND DOCUMENT take a journal book, sketch take photos record some audio
- CARRY IT WITH YOU to your world you will be better for it
- And remember YOU ARE NATURE
What’s coming up
- New Workshops! I am developing some new creative workshops exploring this journey. Sign up for upcoming workshop announcements.
- November 25-26 Downtown Huntsville Holiday Market with fellow artist Catherine Luce Mystical Woods Studio
Thank-you to all of you for tuning into my first post in a long time. I’ll keep you posted as the creative journey move along.