CHERYL BAILEY
Ontario Society of Artists - Contemporary Landscapes

 

THE MEADOW PROJECT: IF YOU PLANT IT, THEY WILL COME

Art Space Connect Gallery at Neilson Park Creative Centre is booked for my 3 week solo exhibition April 20- May 10 in 2020. This period also happens to encompass Earth Week. We didn't plan it but I guess the stars were aligned! During the three weeks, I hope to encourage and/or inspire local children and adults alike to enjoy a more natural environment in their own yards.

 

Why native plants?
Do you have a garden? Are you a busy person?  

Perennial plants native to our region are not only beautiful but self-sufficient  when chosen properly. This is  key. I also chose plants that deer do not prefer. I don't even need to water or fertilize them. Talk about low maintenance! 

Twenty different species of perennial native* plants and native grasses were seeded in a ploughed and cultivated meadow area on our property. Now we have a parade of beautiful changing bloom throughout the three seasons.  Each serves a purpose in the ecological community. When was the last time you saw any of the species of purple coneflower growing in the wild?

Do you think we are going to run into problems with water supply?

 I have  dry sandy soil  so I chose plants that are suitable for dry sandy soil. Native perennial plants survive with the amount of naturally occurring moisture when chosen appropriately. We have resources that indicate which plants to choose for every soil type. Wet, dry, sandy, loamy etc.

 

Would you consider yourself ecologically conscious? 
More than ever, every bit of educated ecological effort on the part of individual citizens helps our natural world. If you plant it, they will come: the birds, the bees, all the pollinators. 

Since the meadow was planted, the number of colourful birds and butterflies species returning to enjoy the native meadow plants increases every year. If you plant it, they will come. We also have lots of bees.  A couple years ago, I began identifying the butterflies. My count of identified butterfly species is currently at 21 and I'm talking about the fancier butterflies. Before the native meadow, we did not see them. If you plant it, they will come.

Global trade is bringing invasive species to our land. Every citizen who pulls out an invasive plant or grows a native plant is making a difference.

By the way, you wouldn't believe in a pollinator crisis if you heard the racket that the busy buzzers make when the Black Locust tree is in bloom. Black Locusts are native trees. 

 

The Exhibition
With my paintings, in a personal way, I express the joy and delight I feel in the growth of the meadow from dirt and seed through to spectacular bloom. 

I will use my paintings, photographs and videos of life in and around the meadow to demonstrate the natural colours, rhythms, patterns and diversity that freely abound when we help Mother Nature find her way back home. My acrylic paintings are abstracted simplified landscapes. Some paintings are more abstract than others. The works are mostly concerned with simple shapes and texture but the original subjects are generally recognizable as an artistic interpretation of the meadow and its environs. 

The exhibition is free and all are welcome.

Because the exhibition is in April, some exhibition visitors will be preparing to head to the garden centres. May they be inspired to plant these self-sustaining locally grown native plants in their own gardens soon afterward. It will make a difference. And they will enjoy the difference.

*Native plants: the plant species that grew naturally before the first settlers arrived in the 1600s and started clearing the land for farming