Every day I wander out in my dressing gown to take roughly the same image. I thought of marking the path and setting up a tripod to make it exactly the same shot, but life is too short, and the camera varies. So, todays image is number 1,269 in the series. Given holidays, hospital days etc., I reckon that represents the lasts 5 years of change in the garden, a source of ideas and inspiration for my art. It also has helped my healing processes in recovering from diabetes and cancer.
Today I sat on the garden bench, after lunch, relaxed and determined to enjoy the sun. As I have recovered so my painting has changed. I sat and contemplated the evasions and displacement activity of the last two days – almost a normal state for me. I overthink and it results in a form of mental paralysis.
Earlier this morning I went into the studio feeling positive and determined to find a solution. More drawing convinced me the painting wouldn’t work, not drawn well enough and the colour ill though out. I’ll have to restretch with new canvas and try again. Somewhere distant a hammer banged on wood, and occasionally the sound of a motor made itself heard above the sound of the breeze in the trees. A wren shrieked repetitively – probably warning a cat it would get a fight if it came any closer. Blue tits chittered and their offspring tweeted shrilly. Gulls called ‘hello’, gently for them, high above, ghostly against the blue sky, their shadows having a larger whirling presence on the grass.
Thunder is forecast but the cloudless sky gives lie to man’s predictions. I felt my heartbeat slowing to the rhythm of the earth, of the sunlit garden. I enjoy these moments of contemplation, the scents and sounds. They feed my soul.
The hammer was replaced by the gentle distant buzz of a power saw. Bees jostled each other to get at the pollen, pushing, jumping on rivals to get on the best flower. A miner bee buzzed close to me, its burrow by the feet of the seat I’m on. Green rose chafer beetles crowded to compete in their hunt, more than two dozen in the flowers.
I felt myself at one with the beauty around me and was seduced by the colour. Purples turning to deep blue in the shadows, the occasional gleam of gold. The white brilliance of daisy petals, the rich buttery yellow of the centres amongst the green and purple. Spots of red in the bushes echo spots of red from fallen petals in the grass.
There have been paintings, many paintings, as I respond to the garden. There will be more after I have worked through my peg issues. Part of the nature of art is the reflection of the fundamental beauty and brutality of life, the garden is full of busy workers hunting, All around are the hunted. I no longer need to hunt, but that doesn’t mean I need not maintain a self-critical awareness of what I make. Each piece must be right.
As nature grows and responds to the seasons so too must I. It may be for urban artists the awareness of the rhythms of life are different, determined by their social engagement with the urb. However, the superbly violent thunderstorms of the other night were a reminder of the power of nature. Cities cannot ultimately protect from these elemental forces. Life in the Hive is an artificial construct maintained by an army of underpaid workers: the bubble is fragile.
Here the sense is of the eternal survival of nature. Man may turn out to be but a temporary intrusion into the life of the blue planet.