No doubt if you are reading this you know that gardening is an art. And, as is often true with art, one form inspires another. A recent stroll in the University of California Berkeley Botanical Garden brought so much of this together.
Art appreciation is something we do every time we visit a museum, go to a concert, read a poem, dine in a fine restaurant, are thrilled at a sporting event, listen to a well-crafted lecture, or recognize any of the beautiful things humans are capable of doing.
Walking a fine garden is art appreciation too, often alerting many of the senses, making us keenly aware that in nature beauty begins.
Art is everywhere, and for many of us in the Gardening Gone Wild community, we create art every time we plant something new, prune our trees, or pick a bouquet.
I wonder if we understand how deeply gardens affect other arts. I doubt there is any quantitative way to measure the influence of gardens on the human soul, but certainly they improve the human condition. Whether actively or subliminally I am sure we gardeners spread the beauty and joy we find in the garden to others.
I was at the Botanical Garden to see the Florilegium of Alcatraz exhibit.
After the lecture I strolled the garden, absorbing the wet beauty, giddy, thinking about the art all around me and how I might portray what I see.
By good fortune I ran into the poet Hazel White who is currently working on a project in the garden called The Biotic Portal at Strawberry Creek. She and her colleague Denise Newman are surveying garden users and creating an archive of experiences.
I met her just as I was studying these Viburnum berries glistening with raindrops.
She asked me what I was seeing, and I had such fun thinking about it, in conversation with her about vision and what I look for in gardens.
I often see things abstractly as shapes and colors, and in the years since my vision was compromised by a detached retina, I have started to illustrate gardens a bit differently in my personal work. Having talked to Hazel about these viburnum berries, how I saw them as they had splashes of color, I decided to transform them into the art print I imagined.
I cropped the photo down to lines and texture and color.
Then I cloned in, or added, some extra berries in the upper right and lower left.
I then used a Photoshop plug-in filter called Topaz Impression and began working with the tools contained in the filter that adjust brush shape, brush size, vibrancy, edges, and a number of other options.
A blur of impressions, nicely balanced by the underlying structure of the branches.
After applying the filter I decided I need to erase a few spots to reveal the original berries.
Let your eyes focus on those few berries and feel yourself in the garden surrounded by beauty.
And when you are next in a beautiful garden, let your eyes un-focus, and sink into the beauty. Gardens are art.