HollyDeanArtist: Often Medieval in Mood: The Soulful Garden - A New Mixed Media Collage Series

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Soulful Garden - A New Mixed Media Collage Series

It began innocently one evening with a quest for food. We had intentionally arrived at the movie theatre early and as we walked across the expansive parking lot we discussed our options for dinner. Tim Horton’s or Zellers came up as possibilities, but we felt we were in need of something NOT from a monolithic chain franchise.

Across the road we spotted a cafĂ© – an intriguing building with smoked glass windows. We approached what we thought was the front door and peered in. Seconds later the door opened revealing a friendly fellow who greeted us and warmly invited us in. He explained that the entrance was really around the side, but that we were quite welcome to enter through this door. So we did, not realizing that it was to be a gastronomic epiphany.

The food was amazing! With each bite we savoured the exquisite flavours, sharing bites from each other’s plates and gesturing in rapturous delight. It struck me. These dishes were prepared with fresh herbs! I had embarked on a love affair with herbs years ago. Indeed, I had an herb garden once upon a time. Why on earth didn’t I now? I resolved to rekindle that affair. Plans were whirling around my head as our friendly waiter indicated the actual restaurant entrance/exit, with the exclamation, “But you are more than welcome go out the same way you came in if you would like!”

This culinary herb reawakening lead to the discovery and shameless worshipping of Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef) and a fabulous herb garden laid out in the shape of a gothic arch in our front garden. Rosemary, oregano, sage, chives, parsley and thyme plants thrive in the lower levels, while basil fights for its life with monster tomato plants that threaten to overshadow our MINI Cooper parked alongside. Next year I will plant the tomatoes somewhere else!

Early in the year an invitation from George came along to exhibit my art at the Almonte Herb Garden. How apropos! Here was an excuse to create an entire new series related to herbs and the garden which I had wanted to do for years. I spent many happy hours, days, weeks exploring the theme, making copious notes and little sketches; gathering inspirational images and quotations; painting, writing and collaging; eating, sleeping and dreaming the art.

I experience a journey whenever I begin a new series, never knowing where it will lead. All this creativity has manifested into several pieces so far, of which I am quite excited!

Yesterday, Laura and I drove to the Almonte Herb Garden and hung the exhibit (sixteen paintings in all, including one 6 x 4 foot one) in the lovely Bergamot Barn Gallery. I painted the series with the setting in mind and it really looks at home there.

I hope those who are close by will have the opportunity to take a trip out to this gorgeous location to drink in the gardens - both inside and out! I will be "in residence" to talk about my art on the following dates:

Monday, August 4  YOGAFEST "A Festival for Healthy Living" (during the afternoon)
Thursday, August 14  Thai Buffet Dinner (during both sittings)
See event and driving details at www.herbgarden.on.ca
For more information:  (613) 256-0228 or herbs@herbgarden.on.ca
Pictures to come...

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