This past Sunday and the Monday prior, groups of artists have come to paint in my garden. As I truly believe that gardens are best enjoyed when shared with others, it gives me enormous pleasure to see people enjoy my garden. When something that gives me comfort and inspiration does the same for others, we become connected at a deeper level I think. The shared experience fosters a bond for sure.
I’m always curious to understand how others experience and perceive anything I create. Be it a poem, a painting, a meal or my garden, receiving feedback is an important factor in my growth as an artist, poet, gardener or cook. Going a step further, its how I grow as a creative individual. But one doesn’t always get to know what others experience since not everyone feels compelled to share their thoughts. Of course, most folk readily say kind, complimentary things and only a few will offer honest, constructive criticism. How well I accept the latter depends naturally on who is speaking. A person who’s opinion I value or somebody who simply says something from ignorance or misguided intent – it makes a difference.
But when it comes to artists in my garden, what they choose to paint and their resultant works says it all. No words required. So many points of view and interpretations helps me see my garden anew each time. This is valuable as, for my part, I get to see my garden from different perspectives which then helps me develop or evolve certain areas further or maintain other spaces as it is for now. For certain, I learn much in seeingthe garden through the eyes of others and that gives me a deeper understanding of my own creative process. It’s also a testament to how successful (or not) my design efforts are. Those paintings are a bit like performance reports. I pay attention and then take from each what either helps me grow creatively or validates what I’ve done. What elements, plants or areas caught an artists attention informs me on whether my work with the design, shadows, shapes, colors, play of light, use of negative space have been noted and appreciated. Every now and then, I get to see something so familiar to me in a completely different manner. That’s big.
In any case, every artists’ work matters to me. Simply knowing they are in my garden by choice does my gardener and artist heart a world of good. I am humbled and deeply grateful.
Here are images from two different days of artists in the garden and their resulting works. It’s interesting to note where and what each decided to paint –
(c) 2023 Shobha Vanchiswar
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