Gardening is an art that’s a lot like making art
A good friend of mine has suggested to me that I start writing about my passion for gardening, and how my experiences and hard work in gardening have influenced and informed my thinking about art.
My friend’s idea reinforced a hunch I developed a couple of months back. Arguably, my new painting Open System, which will be showing in the 2009 Arizona Biennial, had at least something to do with the idea of growing things. Having a garden is like having an open system. You have a limited plot of land, but you can grow a chaotic array of plants within in it.
Corn, beans and squash in the backyard garden
Other parallels between gardening and art:
Once it’s prepared for planting, a garden is like a blank canvas, filled with potential, hope and opportunities for change. (Perhaps that’s a labored analogy, but it’s true.)
Gardening reminds you that things aren’t perfect. If you grow your own tomatoes, you know exactly how “imperfect” your tomatoes look compared with mainstream supermarkets’ tomatoes! They look like short, fat misshapen gourds, even! But your homegrowns will taste so much better than anything a big-box retailer will sell you.
Each crop you grow will teach you something about what you’re growing, and it will also teach you something about yourself — how you “read” and tend to your crop is important.
Gardening has transformed how I live. I consider it a lost art. When my octogenarian neighbors compliment me on what’s growing, I take that as a massive compliment. Back when they were kids, in the real Great Depression, everyone gardened.
Related thought: Is a blog for every “side” of your life necessary?
I had a conversation today with a colleague of mine-I’d like to say that she’s “healthfully skeptical” about the role, scope and scale of blogging, making status updates, and participating in social networks. (Her argument is essentially that when you’re producing “social content,” you’re taking time away from other things in your life that you enjoy, such as [insert your hobby here]. And I agree with her to a certain extent.)
Her point is this: Most of her friends on Facebook are from a community of dancers who devote their entire lives to dance. If she were to have a blog, her dance friends wouldn’t be interested what she would be writing about, because she would be writing about things outside of dance. Therefore, my colleague concluded that she would need a series of blogs-10 of them, in fact-to address the many facets of her life adequately.
I disagreed with her for two reasons: One, it’s very difficult to keep art and the rest of life compartmentalized. (I’ve tried. Forget it.) Two, if you were to try to keep more than one blog going, you’d be sure to take time away from each of the facets of your life that you love; in my colleague’s case, it’s dancing.
To be honest, I have a like-dislike relationship with blogging. I like the freedom of it, and writing a post offers a wonderful opportunity to reflect somewhat objective on my life. But I dislike the perception that it has to be “kept up” regularly; that’s pretty hard for me to do. Plus, blogging takes time away from painting. (It doesn’t take time away from gardening, though, because the plants always need watering!)
Would you like to see more pics of the garden in these pages? What do you think?