Mother’s Day holds garden memories for me. First and most obvious, it come in spring when the garden is bursting forth. But second, Mother’s Day and Easter were days when my mother and I would walk the garden together to delight in the hope of every little sprout. It was one of the few times she was unguarded about her response to life. In spite of the intervening years since her death, I still remember those strolls down our garden paths and trips to the nursery each spring. My first childhood memories of the garden came from her.
My adult garden muse is also gone now. Carol was an amazing force of nature. Her garden was an English fantasy filled with alpine-lined paths, hedges and stone walls. She would have loved this spring as much as I. It’s not only been a glorious gardening season, but also a time for me to pursue capturing gardens on canvas. Visually organizing the riot of plants with a brush on canvas is the two dimensional version of digging the trowel into the earth to move plants about to get the perfect composition in an ever changing scene.
Painting gardens brings me to my third muse: Berthe Morissot. As much as I love Monet, Morissot’s brushwork is even more exciting to me. The open, free strokes are just organized enough to make objects recognizable sometimes. Her paintings remind me of a book Carol gave me years ago: A Gentle Plea for Chaos, by Mirabel Osler. Twenty years ago, Carol saw the rustic element in my garden when I was trying to be so organized about it! It makes me wonder how Berthe saw her own paintings. Probably the way I see mine, they just are.