Choreographed Canadian Landscape Paintings


(posted on 7 Feb 2024)

Since I was a child, I have loved almost all flowers. (The Rattlesnake Master is an exception that comes to mind.) In the cool of the mid-summer evenings, I would help Mom water the garden. Pretty much a no brainer to stand at a distance and point a hose, right? Well I was helping and help is always welcome. Later, in mid winter,  Mom would start seeds under the eight foot banks of flourescent lights hanging from the ceiling in the basement.  I wasn't much interested in the veggie seeds like tomatoes (I was a kid)  but I did enjoy watching the little seedlings popping up in the cell packs. 

In Uni, a most useful course was horticulture.  I spent frigid winter mornings in the warm greenhouse propogating SO MANY tropicals! Before we bought our own home, I had a garden on the apartment balcony in boxes my Dad made for me. We planted a garden right away after we bought our own home. What a surprise when all the lovely petunias I planted one day were mown down by the cutworms overnight. Apparently this happens in new subdivision gardens!?

Summers came and went and I had some pretty wonderful flower gardens over the years. The little ones would play in the backyard on the swings and in the sand. I would be keeping an eye on them, while I gardened. 

Then---Aphids burst on the scene and ate everything. And Red Lily beetles chased the oriental lilies right out of my garden. Japanese rose beetles put paid to the enjoyment of my beautiful rose bushes. And then the years of drought. The hose would get left on by accident. Or it wouldn't get turned on and everything would dry up. The Garden had become a battleground. What was once such a productive past time had become a frustration. I lost interest. 

Painting took a priority position in my life at about the same time that we bought a country property. I had all the space I wanted to garden. The soil was sandy in most places. A bit more loamy where the leaky hill allowed rivulets of water to travel down. 

I debated with myself about what to plant in my new paradise. Because I like to learn from others' life lessons, I deferred to the experience of Yvonne Cunnington. She had planted 34 acres in all varieties of gardens- manicured through wild. She said the garden that she got the most pleasure from was the native plant meadow. Right! That's decided. That's how I came to learn all about native plants! 

At first, all I was really concerned about was the fact that this native plant meadow was a great lazy person's project. (I wasn't getting any younger!) Then the knowledge from my degree in Biology kicked in, as did news about the whole pollinator crisis  we are experiencing in Canada.  

In a nutshell: Pesticides kill ALL of the bugs, good and bad. Without the bugs (our native bugs)  pollinating and thriving, crops don't succeed. Mammals and other higher forms of life don't eat. Bugs are near the bottom of the food chain that we depend on. In my meadow, we have bugs that I had never seen before. I have identified over 20 fancy butterflies because we have provided the plants that they want for food. If you plant it, they will come.

The meadow we planted has provided me with lots of inspiration for my landscape-based artwork. This new year has brought me to paint 2 works that actually show the native plants- not in detail :) and the butterflies. I hope they will remind people to plant native plants.

If you have read through this ramble this far-- Congratulations! Now you'll see why I love my native plants: -- Because they take care of themselves! they survive bugs and drought. They may not thrive in a bad drought, but they always survive to bloom another day. We ploughed the field, seeded and mulched it. Then all we had to do was sit back and watch it grow!

 So that's my story and I'm sticking to it! There's a slightly different angle to the telling HERE.

Here are the two new paintings (30"x30"):

The White Admiral  30”x30” 

Pick Me! 30”x30”

The Red Admiral Butterfly is actually quite friendly. The first one I met landed on my leg to visit at the picnic table.

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