But what does it mean?

Does all Art - Garden Art included - have to mean something?

I was brought up to see art for art's sake....Joel Selmeier, a talented Peace Pole artist, feels the same and in his blog he counsels us not to 'cerebralize' the way we see art...

Georgia O'Keefe

He writes,
"...Once I was walking through a museum when I passed an art teacher leading a group of senior citizens in an art appreciation course. I tried not to appear too dismayed.

 "When you look at this painting, look at this person in this window and think of the relationship that must exist between this person and the one on the floor below.

Think up a story that connects the two people."

Oh, for god's sake.

Is Mozart improved by noting chord changes?...

One of my works was hanging on a wall when a viewer asked me what it means. The artist standing next to him said, "You can't ask an artist that."

That is true for gardens too...

After all my talk about scale, proportion, color, sun and shade..it all boils down to 'How Does It Make You Feel?'

Serenity Gardens are meant to make you feel relaxed and at peace...A natural anti-depressant....

My aim in this blog is to help others learn how to create outdoor spaces, big and small, that calm people and feel tranquil...

So if you are asked 'what does it mean?'
just answer,
"well, how do you feel?"


  1. Great post. As someone who considers herself an artist, I completely agree with everything you said. I remember being in an art class in high school, wondering how they can even give grades on art.

    I used to have a t-shirt that said 'Good Art Won't Match Your Sofa'. Loved it.

  2. I'm not sure if art is about 'feeling'. But it's certainly not about 'explaining'.

    Joseph Campbell makes a remark in one of his videos, about asking an artist to explain their work: 'if the artist wants to insult you, he will tell you what it means'.

    Here's my hack-Jungian explanation: real art is about bringing numinous archetypes into consciousness.

    That's what Dali did. Dali was a real artist.

  3. I hope that no one will ever question me about the meaning of my garden designs. Surely that is the sort of client I would try to avoid.

  4. I ask myself often, how do I feel, sometimes not too good! I am constantly seeing areas in my garden that I think need a change. Sometimes I wait too long to make these changes.


  5. Aloha, Grace.
    As always a treat to read and learn. When we are in the moment we neither need to know what the painting says or why the flower grows, they just are and if we are wise we stop and enjoy them both. Jason Scott Lee says that working in the garden is like working on yourself. Heal the earth and heal yourself. Mahalo, Richard

  6. Aloha!
    If there is one thing I know it is that the people who are drawn to gardens, design and art (and this blog!) are a fascinating bunch...

    numinous archetypes, indeed...

    to wit, someone once asked Matisse which specific tree he portrayed in a particular painting and he answered, 'Tree'....

    "Nothing can be accomplished without love."
    — Henri Matisse

  7. My husband was a painter. Several times the observor asked him "What is it?" His usual response was, "It's a painting." He could also go on, depending on how sarcastic he was prepared to be--"It's done with oil paint" ot "I based the design on a colage I worked out in construction paper." Not what was asked, of course.

  8. Art, music, gardens...all these things elevate us above the more tedious aspects of life.
    If everyone had the opportunity to create the art of their choice, the world would surely be a happier place!

  9. I totally agree with you. This is exactly the reason why I hated art appreciation class. we were always asked to analyze works of art and made to think what the artist tried to imply. I believe art should just be seen as it is and that whatever it means is only for the artist to know.

  10. I completely agree. The same notion of not cerebalizing art works for poetry as well.

  11. left brain vs right brain....I am left handed - so there you go!


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