A Secret Garden

in the studio

A Secret Garden

 

Do you sometimes feel like there is magic in the air? Like anything you can dream of is actually possible? Do you sometimes feel so inspired by the inexplicable beauty of Nature that your heart can hardly contain it all?

I do. Whenever I take a moment to pause, breathe and let it all in. Whenever I remember that the cold and darkness of Winter are essential for life to bloom in Spring. Whenever I tend to the Secret Garden inside my soul.

 

This feeling of magic, this childlike wisdom is what my latest painting is all about. Every layer of it is infused with this sense of wonder and joy that you can't really put into words, but that you can feel in your heart, if you just let it in.

Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden - in all the places.
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
 
 

I had started this painting (my biggest ever) last summer, but somehow it got stuck for a while. I don't worry too much when this happens because I've learned to trust the ebb and flow of the creative process, so I put it aside for many months while I was busy with other projects. I think it needed this time to rest and mature, and finally last week it called to me again, ready to fully bloom!

And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
 
 

Only when it was complete did I realize how long it had been since my last, large painting: over a year! I could hardly believe it but it's the truth. The past year has been so busy and transformational, what with teaching and so many of other things, that my art practice changed and slowed down for a while. I expected it would, but what a relief to come back to the easel and immerse myself in this piece for days, what a joy to bring it to life.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”...
”It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine...”
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
 
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Here are a few images of the first steps the painting went through, the first layers of color and collage (click to enlarge):

 

The book, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of my absolute favorites. I read it again last year, and we recently read it at bedtime with the kids and watched the movie too. It is so full of magic and wisdom.

 
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This is such a large painting that it really feels like "a place" more than a picture. It's like having a garden in the house, or a large window overlooking this ever-blooming, magical world where dreams do really come true, if you believe in them with all your heart.

I guess that's where the Internet reaches its limits, and I so look forward to exhibiting this piece very soon, so that others can experience it in person. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the close-up pictures!

 
 
If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
 
 

The painting will be listed on my site in a little while (we're actually preparing a brand new online gallery/shop!) and in the meantime you can contact me directly for enquiries. Thank you so much for spending this time in the garden with me!

 

Light and Love,

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