Summer is in its full glory in my garden at the moment. Unfortunately it is so hot that it is hard to really enjoy it. Luckily I can still paint in my air conditioned studio and enjoy the colors and textures at a remove from the actual garden, which is steaming and full of insects who are out for blood.
Nature is beautiful and treacherous. The human race has gone overboard to surpress and control nature for our own pleasure and safety. We do whatever we can to change things to suit ourselves without suffient reflection about what the chain reaction of these changes will mean to ourselves and other creatures in the long run. As a result there is very often not a 'long run' for many species and it may be our own survival will go the way of so many other forms of life.
In the meantime we have art and music to feed our spirit when nature is too harsh and we want to sit back and pretend all is well.
While painting this I got to thinking about Robert Frost's poem MENDING WALL that contains the phrase, "good fences make good neighbors". In the poem Frost is pondering whether that old proverb is indeed true and wondering what good it does to rebuild the stone wall between he and his neighbor every year.
While searching for an attractive version of the poem on line, I found this article about how, in fact, good fences do actually make people more comfortable with their differences. Very interesting.
This beautiful old barn was the last property I visited in the PAINT IN THE GARDEN series sponsored by the Wayne art center. It is very near the center of Wayne yet when you are there it feels as if you are in the deep country.
I would like to sing the praises of growing lettuce. I have been having a big salad for lunch every day for 3 months from my small garden of lettuce. I think this is "Red Gem" ( I threw away the seed packet), which is not only delicious but beautiful. If you haven't tried growing these tasty treats, give it a whirl. All lettuce is easy to grow - plant it in the shade in this weather. It doesn't like the heat. I still have some that is quite tasty however as it is shaded by some large squash plants. Lettuce from the garden is much more tender than what comes from the super market. The varieties needed to withstand packing and long sessions waiting for customers are not what you can plant in your home garden and the difference is delicious.
There was a festive wedding in the family the week before last, so I was not in the studio. Thus no paintings this week.
But I have not been idle this week and will be posting paintings next week again.
In the meantime here is something to take your mind off the heat. In the middle of last winter I would never have thought I would look back on that cold with a certain bit of nostalgia but I was wrong.
These Hollyhocks look almost completely black until the sun comes around to the west and seeps through in the dappled shade. Then they turn a rich shade of red wine. The garden is an ever changing marvel of lighting effects for the patient eye.
Hollyhocks or Alcea are very old plants. The remains of them have been found in the Neanderthal caves of Shanidar in Iran. This unusual one popped up in my wild flower garden. Perhaps it is a lovely gift from some ancient corner of Asia.