Finally, I have an excellent use for the acronym OMG!
It has truly been a horrid year for the backyard gardener. Especially if you are trying to show off for various visiting relatives and friends, as we did in May and June.
Visitors and plants have ceased for the summer well ahead of schedule, and I face another reality: no gorgeous photographs of the flowers and vegetables growing in my seven gardens. I usually take around 300, documenting plants throughout the summer. All the exquisite inspiration that feeds my artist’s imagination is dried up … my Nikon has less than a dozen usable shots in the 2012 garden folder.
For most of the year I would describe myself as a homemaker, grandmother, cook and, most notably, professional artist … a painter of all that “outdoor stuff” I love to grow this time of the year.
Even the critters that munch on, lay eggs in and dig under my gardens are a big part of the art. From April to October, the outdoors is my studio. Caring for over a hundred hostas, three dozen roses, countless lilies and a multitude of other perennials, not to mention the veggies, shrubs and trees, getting dirty and bitten and scratched is all part of the artistic experience for me.
It is so worth every minute of discomfort, because the payoff is double. I get to physically enjoy the landscape at my fingertips, and I get to absorb all the colors and textures as subject for artworks. Sometimes the paintings are not pretty. And certainly they are not typical. I like a little chaos in both my gardens and my paintings. Often, what I grow is mingled with historical botanicals and insects, but the backyard is always the catalyst.
Back to 2012. What should I paint this year? Crinkled leaves and shriveled blossoms? Birds bathing in my bathtub fountain to stay cool? I’ve got it … sprinklers and garden hoses! Oh well, there is always the plentiful garden book I printed in memory of 2011 to draw from. That was an excellent summer!
Susan Tinker lives in Overland Park. See her works at tinkerartists.com.