Saturday, June 25, 2016

Garden Variety

"Garden Varieties"
The Mill Art Center, Honeoye Falls, New York

Participating Artists at The Mill Art Center

On this summer day - the sun is out and the temperature is moderate so we go around to see the show at The Mill Art Center before it closes.  "Garden Varieties" has mostly botanical images and I have three things in this show, along with a big group of artists from western New York.  I was happy to be invited to participate and exhibit three watercolors of plants and flowers from my garden which I have painted over the past few years.

Recent portrait of a poppy in progress...

I have said many times that flowers are difficult to paint, mostly because I try to match the colors I see, and then I find that the colors on my palette are pale compared to what nature has to offer.  The paintings I make from subjects like the poppy above - they are studies and not unlike what other artists have made before, in my paintings I try to be accurate and they are the direct response to what I see before me.  I learn right away that my light source ( the sun ) is always moving and it changes the way the subject looks from the time I begin to the time that my painting is done.

Robert Heischman,  painting made from a garden at Dumbarton Oaks

At The Mill Art Center, I find a pair of works by Robert Heischman with subjects taken from the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.  His paintings are strong in composition and also in his ability to communicate light on all the forms.  Trying to show light coming through the petals of a flower is a difficult trick to pull off with paints, and Gail Thomas tries to do that with her portrait of a peony.  Some artists like Lanna Pejovic show a "gardenscape" that begins to verge on abstraction.

top: Lanna Pejovic, and Gail Thomas, below

In order to get in touch with the real thing, my wife, Anna and I,  drive over to see gardens on view - in a garden habitat tour sponsored by The Genesee Land Trust.  This is an opportunity once a year to go and see what real gardeners are doing outside their homes, and we were fascinated by all the varieties of plants ( especially the hostas ) and we were attracted to the ways people were able to make gorgeous gardens on their properties.  It was something Monet would have enjoyed.

Hegeman garden
"The Backyard Habitat Tour"
June 24, 2016

Hosta varieties

Colorful planter

The gardens we visited take a lot of planning, and work to create.  You  have to be resourceful finding the right plant specimens and trying out different compositions just like a painter might create.  Hopefully, the seasons will be kind to the gardens we visited today, and the weather couldn't have been better!