Art + Nature = Gardening

Mr. Bumpy  -  Colored Pencil

Now I know this is a gardening blog, but I do find it appropriate to introduce you to my first loves in life, art and nature.   
Creativity in its purest form is an obsession.  If thinking about a few of your favorite things makes you a bit happier, then why not indulge in immersing yourself in your passions?  Growing up I always loved to explore and discover all sorts of animals when I lived in the Mojave desert, so during less exciting points in my life meditating on what brought me so much joy just made sense.  

When you create anything, you first need to decide what quality you want to emphasize.  For example, in my garden I focus on just one thing, the idea of a rainforest.  Now when I think of a toad, I think of circles, since toads are round and so are their eyes, belly and the bumps that cover their skin.    So I executed it by repeatedly layer circles over each other with colored pencil.  The palette is restrained, so you notice the subtlety of the toad's skin.  Focusing on that happy toad made me so happy until it was complete.  To the left is another colored pencil piece that follows the same notion of sticking to a single concept.  Here I focused all of the attention on the connection between the bride and child, and I even blurred the edges a little in photoshop to emphasize this.  

Here's how this relates to gardening.  My happiest memory growing up was seeing a treefrog tucked in a bromeliad at the San Diego Zoo, so when I started gardening I immediately knew that I wanted to create a rainforest for treefrogs to live in. After deciding the key concept, I decided to execute it by densely packing lush layers of plants in a naturalistic border.  In the backyard's color palette I focus on the color chartreuse so it pops out of the shade.  I limit the flowers to purple, red and orange.  No pastels, no pinks, no blues and all excitement.  
Of course I have lots of bromeliads, and even more treefrogs perched in their cups just like the one I saw in my happy childhood.


  1. aloha, how wonderful we also have art in common...i have been doing my art more recently but only have included my works rarely in my blog even though my works are also about plants and birds and insects....i guess i have to think creatively like you in working them into a thoughful and provoking post....wonderful!

    btw, we have cocqui frogs that came over from puerto rico and they are invading the entire island...its scary!

  2. Very nicely done. Absolutely art, design,nature,creativity all go together with our love for gardening. I love your drawings and the thoughts behind your art work. Interesting too to hear how you decided to on a rainforest garden theme.

    I started taking painting (water soluable oils)classes a couple of years ago and the first thing I painted was a photo of my caladiums. Makes sense.

    I wonder what I would do without blues in my garden. :-)

  3. Well, that artwork is very impressive! I see that you inherited some of your mother's talent. Did you do the art on your blog as well?

    I really like Mr. Bumpy, and seeing the circles on the enlargement was really cool. I love the bride and child drawing! Gorgeous!

  4. Your talent shines through as does your love for the nature of your subjects; animal, plant, or human. The wedding piece is especially captivating.

  5. Just beautiful, love the wedding one!


  6. Thanks guys,
    Noel- I hope to see some of your art too! And those cocqui frogs really are messing things up over there in hawaii. Poor Hawaii with all of those invasive exotics... :(
    Meems - Aren't water soluble oils great? And caladiums sound like a blast to paint since they already look like paintings themselves. Btw, I though about it and I guess my agapanthus are blue and pastel. Couldn't live without those...
    Floridagirl - Nope, my mom just shared her enthusiasm and made me feel confident. My dad gave me a love of nature. Yup, I did the illustrations for the blog too. I did the vriesea one the other night watching project runway!
    NanaK and Marlene - Thanks! Really sweet of you. The wedding one was from a picture of some family in Israel I've never met. I just thought the notion of a bride reaching out to a child was pretty captivating stuff!

  7. Hello RG, Your toad drawing is stunning... you have so captured it's essence! The bride reaching out to the child is truly touching with magical light! Your work is fabulous and I love your including art on your blog. Much of art is inspired by nature and our gardens can be works of art too ... housing a multitude of potential art within. I am excited to have found your blog over at blotanical! I look forward to seeing more of your garden! Carol

  8. Love to see some tree frogs in my garden too but sadly there are none. Perhaps I should be contented with few sunbirds visiting my garden (guess need to plant more nectar-giving flowers)


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