Art and Gardens

My artworks over January and February are full of summer garden flowers. Pictured above is a detail of the February artwork I created for my Patreon subscribers, nature printed with velvety orange Celosia and a variety of garden plants including Spearmint, flowering Marjoram and Cornflowers. Summer’s Swan Song is a layered and warm painting, reflecting the shift in seasons as plants create fruit and seeds in the late summer warmth. I also gave my Patreon subscribers a small nature printed heart artwork to celebrate Valentines Day.

In January I travelled to the South Island to see family, fortunate to experience a beautiful time of year with them and to be able to photograph and make art with plants and flowers in gardens I visited. I created summer garden posies, such as this one below with a “Remember Me” rose, bright orange poppies and an unusual Hydrangea.

Over summer I continued to experiment with nature printing blue flowers – Cornflowers, Hydrangeas and Delphiniums. A larger work with blue flowers as the main focus is slowly brewing. These artworks feature soft blues and greens, Rococo pastels to calm and soothe during times of difficulty and strife. Art can be a healing force, and I was reminded of this at the Auckland Art Fair this week when experiencing the wonderful artwork of Betty Muffler, a Anangu Pitjantjatjara healer from South Australia whose artwork was featured on the cover of Vogue Australia.

For my Patreon subscribers in January I nature printed a combination of pale apricot Crepuscule Noisette rambling roses with Alpine Lavender from a lovely South Island garden. Crepuscule means twilight, although the colouring of this rose reminds me more of a warm summer sunset. The bees love the lavender so much, it was difficult to deprive them of even a couple of stems to nature print with!

It was a real pleasure to visit some stunning South Island gardens whilst I was away, including the Oamaru Public Gardens, the Trevor Griffiths Rose Gardens in Timaru and the kitchen gardens at Riverstone Castle. The magnificent lilies below are from the Riverstone Gardens. Some nature printing with plants from these gardens is certainly on my wish list for the future.

Upon returning home I continued with my summer postcard series, eventually choosing a small artwork nature printed with Cornflowers, Daisies and Parsley for the annual Twitter Art Exhibit charity exhibition. This year the exhibition is at Cheltenham Racecourse in the UK to benefit the LINC Leukeameia and Chemotherapy charity, opening on May 15, 2021.

Summer wouldn’t be complete for me without a visit to the Auckland Wintergardens, but this year it was the wildflower plantings near the greenhouses which really struck me. A glorious combination of pollinator friendly flowers, these areas are teeming with life and have got me thinking about how I could do more to help pollinators. Other artists are also doing this – I have been looking at the work of UK artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg for the Eden Project and the Serpentine Gallery in the UK: “Ginsberg has developed a special algorithm that optimises garden designs – including plant species and layout – for pollinators rather than humans.” Closer to home the social sculpture of Sarah Smuts-Kennedy and the collaborative For the Love of Bees project here in Auckland is also interesting and inspiring. There are many simple changes people can make such as avoiding the use of herbicides and pesticides in their gardens which can help protect native butterflies and bees here in Aotearoa NZ.

In my studio I have waterlilies waiting for me this weekend which is very exciting. I’ve created a couple of artworks with waterlilies this summer and it is a real thrill to make art with these stunning flowers. They have a subtle and beautiful fragrance. I’ve been watching them bend and twist in response to the light and how the colours gradually change as they age. In my recent Patreon updates I’ve posted some of the artwork I’ve been making with them. If you would like to participate in my creative community on Patreon please have a look at my artist page and consider joining, subscriptions start at US$1 per month and every bit of support helps create more art.

As Summer shifts to Autumn my palette changes and I’m shifting away from the blues, pinks and greens of January. As always Autumn brings new colours – yellow, orange, rust, and olive begin to takeover the artwork. I’m looking forward to nature printing some of the colourful Autumn leaves and seeds over March and April.

Aroha from Aotearoa, Celeste

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