Pop-Up Exhibition of Art in Your Garden

The first time I saw an art exhibition outdoors was in Stanley Park in Vancouver, summer 2000. Paintings arranged in community circles, framed by open sky, tall trees, and carpets of green grass captured my imagination. I’d much rather meander through rows of art in the garden than walk through a gallery. Maybe it’s the way the sunlight and shadow dances across the canvas. Maybe it’s the way the earth beneath my feet and the breeze through the trees makes me feel more alive. Maybe it’s the quiet conversation the art seems to be having with its surroundings.

On Sunday afternoon I stopped by a garden exhibition of Susan Tomkins’ work in Port Hope. Her daughter Saskia and I were in the Secret Garden together a few years ago so it is very fitting that we meet again in a garden. There is a natural poetry in seeing paintings lining the garden’s edges, tucked in around the shed and leaning against the bird bath. A relationship between the art of life and the life of art whispers through the contrast of canvas beside tree.

Saskia jokingly said, “You could write a poem about this.” So I did.

Pop-up Exhibition of Art in Your Garden
By Jessica Outram ©
You take me to the garden
frame to air and sun
among friends blooming
You watch me grow
brush to seed and petal
within fences jumping
You hear me blossom
canvas to tree and branch
beside family humming
You send me home
palette to light and water
near feathers warming

This painting now lives in my kitchen.

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