Our eye for plants and gardens isn't formed and refined just by looking at more of the same. Especially valuable is having the chance to experience gardens and the natural world through the eyes of artists...
A feel for color is wherever you find it, understanding of line and scale comes from looking closely at the world around you. I've learned more about design in restaurants and art galleries, in design magazines and by looking at architecture, than in any gardening magazine (or blog) I've ever read. Now this spring, we have the chance (depending on how many air miles you've accumulated) to see two museum exhibits featuring accomplished artists - how I wish both were coming to Seattle.
Should I start with the most ambitious and furthest flung show? "Fashion & Gardens" is at the Garden Museum in London this spring. Here's the description of the first exhibit of its kind:
“Fashion and gardens are an irresistible mix. So many designers have been inspired by gardens through the centuries and this exhibition is a fascinating illustration of how nature has influenced both how our clothes have looked and how they have been worn over the years.” The exhibit runs through April 27.
How I'd love to see it....this is what happens when you indulge yourself with a new copy of British Vogue on a rainy February afternoon!
Closer to home is the de Young Museum in San Francisco's show "Mother Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George," which started last week and runs through May 11. If you've only seen O'Keeffe's flower paintings, you're in for a very pleasant surprise, for landscape was her subject through much of her life. "Lake George...served as a rural retreat for the artist, providing the subject matter for much of her art, and inspiring the spirit of place that she continually evoked in her works from this era, an essential aspect to her evolving modern approach to depicting the natural world."
While O'Keefe's later period in the desert produced my most favorite of her paintings, her work shown at the de Young looks like a beautiful and strong evocation of nature....