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I attended the Madison Area Madison Gardener Association (MAMGA) annual meeting today and wanted to quickly share the highlights of a presentation I saw and loved!

Highlights from Art in the Garden, by Linda Brazill  
Linda writes the blog "Each Little World".

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  Eclectic and funky are good and fun, but they can harm the overall synergy if one thing or another sticks out like a sore thumb.  

  • Set some parameters, such as corralling or (gasp!) limiting your use of colors or textures - which may feel like a wet blanket is being thrown over your creative expression - but, isn't as limiting as you'd think.  You can be creative with any materials you narrow your choice to, whether they be all ceramic and natural tones, or metal and chartreuse.  
  • Art is personal, it doesn't have to be expensive, elegant, or specifically designed for being outdoors - it should be your creative expression.  
  • Add sound and movement to jazz up a space, while still allowing you to keep an element of subtlety, if that's your goal.  For instance you could use bells, lanterns or chimes.

Think about proportions - the relationships between objects.  

  • Plan ahead.  Try to look into the future when you are planning.   Your art should be able to hold its own in the landscape.
  • Gardens change around art.  A small tree planted beside a big rock will someday be a big tree beside a small rock.  
  • Size is relative; a pot or container that seems large when you acquire it, may be dwarfed by its surrounding outside.  
  • Cardboard mock-ups are easier to move around the property than large pieces of art; consider using them to determine just the right location for your piece.
  • Remember that a stone half your size is large when you are standing beside it, but at a distance of 60 feet from you window - may appear small.

Art is everywhere.  

  • Smaller stones, for instance, placed into something, such as a large bowl, are art; they are framed by the bowl.
  • Wood piles can be walls.
  • Painted branches can accentuate angles or contrast curves.
  • Creating patterns with bricks can be far more visually interesting than concrete.
  • Functional objects can be art.  Benches, tables, fences can all be creative.
  • Keep it personal.  Make your statement. 

MY PERSONAL TAKE on all this is that our gardens are not that different from us.
The sum of your experiences, combined with your genetics, create a wonderfully unique you.  You are not static (no matter how much it may feel like you are a robot); you're dynamic; you change and grow every day in countless ways, just like plants.  And, though some of the objects we use for art can change with age and weathering, compared to you and your plants, most are static; life occurs around them.  How you position and frame your objects matters.   Consider this:  Is your art still art when your frames conceal it from view?

Linda shared a photo of a small statue of a fairy, sitting at the edge of a small pond, with its foot outstretched aloft the surface of the water.  Linda commented on how the choice of small pebbles that made up the ponds floor and were easily seen in the shallow water, were perfectly proportionate to the statue.  I thought about it.  I agreed.  I believed that it wouldn't be challenging for my imagination to accept that the scene was real.  It was personal, beautiful, to scale and plausible.  

I'm glad I attended the MAMGA meeting.  Linda's cool.

Keepin' it Lupi!
Tina Lupiezowiec
Owner & Eccentric Urban Farmer
Goin' Lupi, LLC





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