Last year I made a radical decision. I changed my vegetable garden over to a bouquet garden. I decided my life was at a point I wanted to be able to give people bouquets of flowers - not zucchini. Flowers bring happiness and sunshine into a room. That is what I wanted to do.
There were other pieces that played into my decision. I have a hard time pulling weeds. Who gets to decide weeds are less important than veges? And then there are the deer and rabbits and miscellaneous critters, japanese beetles, and did I mention deer? And cucumber virus. Quite honestly, I am not really a very good gardener and I love the farmer's market. So I threw in the towel and started planting flowers. Not any flowers but flowers that can be cut for bouquets. Zinnias, sunflowers, bachelor buttons, daisies, lavender.
Poet Ellie Schoenfeld gave me a true gift this 4th of July. She allowed me to use her poem, Patriotism, in a painting that will be hanging this month in Gallery 1212's Patriot show. I love her poem. Ellie's words remind me that we are all in this together. I value independence, both personal and national. I also value community, cooperation and collaboration - the lessons we can learn from the earth. Ellie's poem says this beautifully.
When I asked Ellie (who doesn't know me at all!) if I could use her poem in a painting, she responded "You are welcome to use it. I love that my poem might be inspiring someone else to create art!" Her words and actions match her poem.
I often use words in my paintings, but usually in the background. In designing Patriotism, however, I wanted the emphasis to be on the words. My idea was give the background the texture and feel of the earth (see detail below) while letting the viewer breathe in the poem. I lost words over edges - hopefully to make you think more.
May we all learn from the lessons in nature. I do daily. Thank you Ellie Schoenfeld for the reminder. Happy In(ter)dependence Day to all.