Indian Summer-Inspired Archival Prints

October 7th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

September_Waters_II, 2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_michaelaharlow.com_all_rights_reserved. September Waters II, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed, Archival Print $150

After many months spent setting up an online gallery to showcase my artwork and offer archival prints for purchase online, I’m happy to announce that the site is now officially open. I’ve included here a few recent additions from the ever-growing collection of pastel pieces now offered as affordable, small to mid-sized archival prints. I plan to update the online gallery monthly, with archival print selections from $85, special, limited editions and eventually, original pieces available exclusively through my studio’s online gallery.

Shattcuk Brook, 2014

Shattuck Brook, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed Archival Print $175

As long time reader’s may recall, this summer I took a sabbatical from seasonal garden design work to re-focus on my career as a painter. It’s been a very successful three months and going forward, I plan to limit my garden design work to a few, select projects per year as I continue my transition back to a full-time career in art. I’ll still be writing about and photographing gardens and the landscape, of course, and hope to expand more on this site. If you are interested in following my artwork —and watching the behind-the-scenes process as new pieces and series emerge— you can check out my studio journal by following the link here, where I regularly post about my process, work-in-progress and offer sneak-peeks of completed pieces, not-yet-listed for sale.

Thank you so much for your many, emailed words of encouragement & for all of the wonderful new follows on my studio Instagram feed and Facebook page! I’ve also just recently joined Ello, the beautiful,streamlined, ad-free social networking site based in Vermont. Have you seen it? I have high hopes for a fresh alternative.

Sound_of_a_Coming_Storm_2014_Copyright_MIchaela_Harlow_ michaelaharlow.comSound of a Coming Storm, 2014 – Deckle-Edged, Signed Archival Print $175

Artwork ⓒ Michaela Harlow. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

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The Painted Landscape

June 25th, 2014 § 1 comment § permalink

June_Tapestry_2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission June Tapestry, 2014 – Pastel

It’s late June, and having finished my professional planting work, I’m currently solidifying plans for my summer sabbatical. With a sea of summer days stretched before me, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be back in my painting studio —full time— for the first summer in five years. I thought now might be the right time to introduce you to my artwork which —not surprisingly— is inspired by the natural world. I’ve been exhibiting my artwork professionally since 1994.

Of course, I will continue to write about horticulture and garden design on this blog, and share my garden and landscape photographs here. But from time to time, you will also see a few of my paintings, drawings and other artwork. You will also occasionally see the work of other artists here (remember the ‘Artists Inspired by Nature’ series?).  If you would like to see more of my oils, pastels and other artwork, please visit my studio website, and/or follow my art blog via RSS feed here or on Instagram @michaelaharlow and/or Facebook.

I hope you will enjoy these painted landscapes, a group of my recently completed pastels . . .

Rain_in_June_2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Resered_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission Rain in June, 2014 – Pastel

Rain_on_Mustard_Fields, 2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_ All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission Rain on Mustard Fields, 2014 – Pastel

Within_the_Storm_2014_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com Within the Storm, 2014 – Pastel

Summer_Porch_2014_Pastel_Copyright_Michaela_Harlow_All_Rights_Reserved_michaelaharlow.com_No_Use_Without_Permission Summer Porch, 2014 – Pastel

All artwork is copyright Michaela Harlow and may not be used or reposted without permission. For information please visit michaelaharlow.com

Photography & Text ⓒ Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without asking first. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Art in the Garden: Monumental Vessels The Work of Artist Stephen Procter at Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, VT

July 14th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

Stephen Procter’s Gorgeous Vessels on Display at BMAC Sculpture Garden (Plantings here: Fothergilla ‘Mt. Airy’, Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’ and Sedum)

Imagining a beautiful outdoor space, and then realizing that vision —physically working to bring the dream to life— is one of the best parts of my work as a garden designer. I have created many private gardens, but having the opportunity to design and install a public garden —one dedicated to art and nature within my own community— has been a new experience for me. For the past two years, I have been volunteering my services as garden designer (and recently, with Turner & Renaud Landscaping Services, as garden installer as well) at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Vermont. If you have been following this blog for awhile, you will recall various mentions of this long-term project.

This Friday, July 15th, the inaugural exhibit of the BMAC Sculpture Garden  —Monumental Vessels by Vermont artist Stephen Procter— marks a special moment. Stephen Procter’s beautiful work will be on display at the garden from now until October 23, 2011. The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center is located at the tristate corner of Vermont, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. If you live nearby —or will be traveling in New England this autumn— please stop by the museum to check out Stephen Procter’s work, as well as the work of sculptors Dan Snow (‘Rock Rest’) and Jim Cole (soon-to-be-installed). For more information about Stephen Procter’s sculptural ceramic vessels, visit the artist’s website by clicking here. Procter’s high-fired stoneware is frost proof, and his lidded pieces may be left outdoors year-round. There’s much more to share, but for now I’ll leave you with a few teaser shots of Stephen Procter’s work, which I snapped yesterday afternoon in the new garden …

Rounding the Corner of the Sculpture Garden’s Stepping Stone Path, Stephen Procter’s Lidded Urn Catches the Late Afternoon Sunlight (Plantings include Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’, Sedum and Fothergilla ‘Mt. Airy’). Stepping Stone Path is by Turner & Renaud Landscaping. See credits below.

Stephen Procter’s Vessels on the New Great Lawn at the BMAC Sculpture Garden

The View into the Sculpture Garden from the BMAC Parking Lot (Plantings here include Amsonia hubrichtii, Penstemon digitalis, Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’ and in the background, Fothergilla ‘Mt. Airy’ and Betula nigra. Gator bags keep the Betula nigra well hydrated)

Stephen Procter’s Large Urn Stands Out Against the New, Green Lawn in a Beautifully Rich Hue (Plantings here include Miscanthus purpurascens, Cornus alba, Eupatorium ‘Chocolate’ and Erigeron strigosis)

View from the Sidewalk, Looking Toward the Marlboro College Building (Plantings here include Vernonica spicata, Calamagrostis x acutiflora, Perovskia atriplicifolia, Clethra alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’, Echinacea ‘Big Sky Sundown’ and Miscanthus purpurascens)

View from the Sidewalk (Plantings Here Include Rudbeckia, Veronica spicata and Cornus alba)

Garden Design and Installation at BMAC is by Michaela Medina. For inquires see my professional services page at left.

Professional Landscaping Services and Installation on this project (including hardscaping, stepping stone path, tree installation, shrub sourcing and endless details) were provided by Turner & Renaud. Special thanks to Christie Turner and her crew for their many hours of service and generous donations toward this special gift to the Brattleboro community.

Photographs and Text ⓒ Michaela Medina/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, articles and content on this site, (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Thank you!

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Art Inspired by Nature: The Work of Vermont Artist Dan Snow…

January 3rd, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

Archer’s Pavilion

As an enthusiastic fan of stone sculpture, environmental art and three-dimensional landscape features, I have been long planning an article about Vermont artist Dan Snow and his work. But finding the time to actually visit and photograph the artist’s creations, and coordinate two seasonal workers during the busy summer months, seemed all but impossible. Dan Snow keeps a busy schedule. In addition to creating master works of art for both private clients and public collections, Dan has authored two of his own books —In the Company of Stone and Listening to Stone with photographs by Peter Mauss— and has contributed to several others. He also regularly writes beautiful essays for his blog, In the Company of Stone. In addition to these artistic pursuits, as a DSWA*of Great Britain- certified Mastercraftsman and DSWA*-certified instructor, Dan Snow leads workshops, talks and presentations —both here in North America and abroad— passing along his drystone walling and artistic knowledge to eager students the world over.

Fortunately, Dan is as generous with his time and talents as he is a gifted and sought-after artist and teacher. I caught up with the artist recently —on a blisteringly-cold December afternoon a couple of weeks back— and asked about visiting a few of his works for a blog-feature. Much to my surprise, Dan offered me the very enviable opportunity to take a local, personally guided tour of his work. Visiting these amazing works of art —and having the opportunity to skip, hop, crawl, walk in, on and around them with their creator— was more fun than I can possibly describe. In addition to his many talents, Dan Snow is also just-plain-good company, and his playful, unassuming nature —so evident in all of his work— made the afternoon both a delightful and educational experience.

The Beautifully Framed View from Within ‘Archer’s Pavilion’

My tour began and ended with stone work created by Dan Snow over a twenty-five-year time span, for three different collectors. Although Dan has built numerous freestanding stone walls, retaining walls, and other practical landscape features (many documented here on this blog) our tour focused on his stone sculpture and land art. Many of the artist’s stone constructions invite physical participation, and ‘Archer’s Pavilion’ (pictured at the top of the page and just above) is a perfect example of this. Although located on private property, this piece sits near the edge of the road, and is well-known and much-loved by locals; particularly children. In his book Listening to Stone, Dan notes that some of his young fans refer to this sculpture as “The Tooth Fairy’s House” when they pass it on their way to and from school. I’m certain that these daily views of ‘Archer’s Pavilion’ inspire a great deal of day dreaming throughout the school day. This fantastical creation is one of my favorites as well. While seated inside the tiny stone tent, reflecting upon the beautifully framed landscape beyond, it occurred to me how —much like other master works of art— the piece seems both impossibly complex and maddeningly effortless. Despite the weight of the stone and the hours of intense physical labor involved in their construction, Dan’s creations always appear as if magically dreamed into existence. It’s a wonderful, and completely mind-boggling paradox.

Stone Sphere. A hollow-centered orb sitting at the far edge of a wind-swept field.

Star Shrine. Inspired by Japanese ‘Hoshi Jinja’, created to house and worship fallen meteors, this is also one of my favorite pieces.

Pyramid. The bright red-orange color of bittersweet berries adds a bit of natural poetry to this study in contrasts. Here, Dan has used round field stone to create a remarkable work of geometry; all straight planes and angles.

Because he works in stone, and his pieces are anchored to the land, the connection to nature is inseparable from Dan Snow’s work. But many other elements and influences are also at play, as evidenced by the diverse works pictured here. Stories about the inspiration and creation of the individual pieces, collected in Dan’s books, are as fascinating as the stonework itself.  “Star Shrine” (above) and “The Keep” (below) were both created in response to works of land art in other cultures. As Dan and I walked to the far end of a stark and barren field —the perfect gallery for his work— a large grouping of boulders called out. I remembered hearing about this piece long ago, and I had the vague recollection that there was some connection to historic tombs.

As it turns out, Dan’s collectors had been traveling in Ireland when they encountered what he describes as a ‘megalithic tomb’. Upon their return, they asked Dan if he would construct a similar structure for them on their property. Portal tombs, or stone burial chambers, exist throughout the world and are known by a variety of common names; including dolmens, stazzone, hunebed, cromlech, dysse and others. These structures share some common characteristics, such as upright stone ‘orthostats’ and large, cap-stone roofs. There are no human remains located in ‘The Keep’, though it is a fantastic and haunting work of art, as well as a fabulous playground for the living.

Entrance – The Keep

The Keep

Inside ‘The Keep’, Looking Out at Woodland’s Edge

Although Dan is often commissioned to create functional objects —benches, fire pits and bridges among them— the utilitarian purpose of these projects is merely a launch point for this artist’s imaginative interpretation of the structure. A bench is simply a place to sit, but a work of art designed for seating is an entirely different thing. The gravity-defying beauty of Dan’s arched, stone foot-bridge, and the fascinating, flame-mimicking points of his fire sculpture, make it clear that in the hands of a master, art need never play second fiddle to craft.

Stone Seating Area

Fire Sculpture

Arched Footbridge

Not only do Dan’s stone creations blur the culturally designated line between art and craft, but many of his environmental art pieces also challenge conventional, Western ideas about what it means to have a garden. Located on the same Brookside property as the ‘Arched Footbridge’ and ‘Star Shrine’, a beautiful and meticulously maintained dry garden sits at woodland’s edge. Most European and American gardeners and landscape designers have fixed ideas about what defines a garden. For many such traditionalists, horticulture must be the primary focus in an outdoor space in order to meet the definition of ‘garden’. And although xeriscaping and rock gardens have become more commonplace over the past twenty years —mostly in response to ecological factors like water conservation and the rise of minimalist aesthetics— dry gardens are still relatively scarce in North America.

Of course in the larger world, ideas about gardening are as varied as the cultures in which this activity takes place. Japanese gardeners mastered the art the dry garden long ago, and in the traditional Zen garden —where the stone itself becomes a distilled, symbolic landscape— these three-dimensional, highly disciplined works of art become the focus, not the backdrop, of the garden. In Listening to Stone, Dan describes how he came to accept a commission for an Asian-inspired dry garden in Vermont, and an inspirational encounter with his Japanese friend and former student, Taheshi Hammana. This is one of my favorite essays in the collection; perfectly describing the yin-yang relationship between student and teacher, and how in the best of circumstances, the learning flows both ways. Like many of Snow’s stories, this one reveals an essential part of the multilayered process art making, and how individual experiences develop and shape that process, and the artist himself.

Dry Garden Detail – In a traditional Zen garden, each object within the composition represents a corresponding object in nature.

Dan Snow’s Modern American Dry Garden, Inspired by Japanese Tradition

Dry Garden Detail. Vertically set stones represent the edge of the raked stone ‘water’.

As daylight began to fade, Dan and I made our way to the last stop on our short tour. Located on this private property are two large, physically engaging works. Dan’s ‘Walking Wall’, which spans the length of the field and is comprised of both restoration and new stone work, and ‘Rock Shelter’ were created to draw the landowner out for a stroll. The story of how these two related pieces came to be, and their connection to the history of the place, adds to the poetic beauty of both works. Does the collector stroll upon the ‘Walking Wall’, and pause for a rest beneath the roof of ‘Rock Shelter’? Based upon my experience there, scrambling atop the stone lean-to roof with Dan and skipping along the trio of bridges at the start of the long wall, I imagine the owner must regularly visit and delight in his private playground…

Walking Wall

Walking Wall

Rock Shelter at Twilight

Rock Shelter – Front Side View

Rock Shelter – Backside View

Dan Snow atop his ‘Rock Shelter’ piece in Vermont – December, 2010

This amazing collection of stone work offers only the tiniest of peeks into the world and work of Dan Snow. But if this short, virtual tour has sparked your interest and imagination, you may be interested in viewing ‘Stone Rising’, a beautifully filmed documentary of Dan’s work and process, available for purchase through Fuzzy Slippers Productions (online here). Dan’s schedule of workshops and lectures can be found on his blog (here), and his books, “In the Company of Stone” and “Listening to Stone” are both available online from Amazon.com as well as at Barnes & Noble, Borders and most independent book stores.

Although much of Dan’s work is held in private collections —with some properties occasionally opened for tours of the artist’s work— several pieces exist in public locations; including collaborative works at Kansas State University, and the English Harbor Arts Centre, Newfoundland, Canada. Recently, Dan created a stone seating sculpture, “Rock Rest” (pictured below) for the new Brattleboro Museum and Art Center Sculpture Garden. This new public garden —which I designed as part of a volunteer project honoring Linda Rubinstein and Dan Freed for their life-long contributions to the arts in this community— will break ground in spring of this year. Dan is currently seeking a sponsor for this work of art, in hopes that it will be installed for the enjoyment of the public (the Brattleboro Museum is located at the far, southeast corner of the state; where the Vermont line meets the southwestern tip of New Hampshire and the northwest boundary of Massachusetts). If you are interested in sponsoring this work of art (pictured below) —or know of a potential sponsor— please contact Dan Snow via his website, In the Company of Stone.

Rock Rest – Photograph ⓒ Dan Snow

Notes and Links of Interest:

* DSWA is an acronym for the Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain, linked here.

The Drystone Conservancy – Lexington, Kentucky

The Drystone Guild of Canada

“Stone Rising” Clip on YouTube

Dan Snow’s Blog – In the Company of Stone

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A Very Special, Heart-Felt Thank You to Dan Snow and Elin Waagen, for Your Time, Generosity and Friendship.

Article and Photographs (exception noted) are copyright 2010, Michaela Medina at The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used for any purpose without my consent.

All content on this site, with noted exceptions, is the property of The Gardener’s Eden Online Journal, and my not be used or reproduced without express written permission.

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Art Inspired by Nature: Soleil MetalArts Exploring the Beautiful Work of Florida Artist Shawn McCurdy……

August 30th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

Ribbons Birdbath (Aluminum, 30″ tall) Shawn McCurdy

As the gardening season begins to wind down, ‘Art Inspired by Nature’ —an ongoing, seasonal series here on the blog— will be returning. And like many of you —some who have written asking about what happened to the regular artist-features— I’ve missed them! One of the things I truly love about writing this online journal is the fascinating, creative people I meet and places I visit. I discovered Shawn McCurdy’s work on The Gardener’s Eden’s Facebook page, when the artist’s profile picture (see below) caught my attention in one of the comments. I’ve always been fascinated by three dimensional metalwork, and although I’ve yet to try it myself, welding seems particularly intriguing. Drawn in by her flying sparks, I clicked over to her profile page and found a link to her studio websiteSoleil MetalArts. When I saw her work —particularly the garden sculpture and birdbaths made from recycled materials— I knew I just had to share her her art with all of you…

Sparks Fly! The Artist at Work

Artist Shawn McCurdy lives, and works from a converted barn-studio, in Geneva, Florida (near Orlando). Shawn began welding nine years ago —when she and her husband purchased their current property— out of utilitarian necessity. But before long, she found herself exploring the artistic possibilities of her new-found metalworking skills. Influenced by a love of nature and gardening, many of McCurdy’s pieces incorporate beautiful botanical and animal motifs. Some of the artist’s larger pieces —particularly the sculptural and functional birdbaths— also utilize unusual, recycled materials; such as traffic-light lenses…

Tendrils Birdbath (Recycled Glass and Steel – 32″) Soleil MetalArts

Shawn uses a MIG (metal inert gas) welding process, primarily for her steel and aluminum work. Other mechanical tools in her shop include instruments for cutting; such as a plasma cutter, metal bandsaw, oxy-acetylene torch, throatless shears, air tools and angle grinders. As project size and creative impulse dictate, Shawn may use a manual fly press (see below) for bending, shaping and texturing metal or a metal brake for making straight bends. Hand tools are, of course, essential to much of her work – particularly the more detailed repoussé and chasing work (this process involving shaping copper over a base of pitch with chisels and hammers). I particularly like her description of the old stand-by in metalwork process: “heat, beat and repeat”. That sounds like fun to me! The artist is largely self-taught. Early on in her career, she received a bit of help from a more experienced welder-friend, and from there on, her skills continued to develop through online research, experimentation, and lots of practice….

Shawn McCurdy – creating metal flower sculptures – templates

Shawn’s metal process reminds me a bit of Matisse and his paper collage cutouts – only she uses metal and ends up with three dimensional results!

Shawn’s fly press (used for bending, shaping and texturizing metal) in action

Hand formed pieces of Shawn’s sculpture

Assembly of work in progress…

Inside Shawn’s shop: amazing, giant metal flowers —stored outside to achieve a fine rust patina— ready to receive a finish coat to halt, or at least slow down, the process of oxidation.Detail of one of Shawn’s finished metal pieces

Poppy – sculpted metal with hand painting by Shawn McCurdy

Garghoul – A steel garden sculpture by Shawn McCurdy

Much of Shawn’s sculpture work, particularly her large garden pieces, is commissioned by private collectors. And although it was her large-scale sculpture that initially captured my curiosity as well, I quickly found myself captivated by her small-scale pieces and other work. On a more in-depth visit to Soleil MetalArts website, I discovered stunningly beautiful jewelry. I am just dying for one of her seaweed-like cuffs (Santa Claus, are you listening?)…

Shawn McCurdy – Soleil Studio – Black Ruffle Cuff

Shawn McCurdy – Soleil Studio – Bracelet Cuffs

Shawn McCurdy – Soleil Studio – Ruffle Cuff

Interested in seeing more of Shawn’s work, or learning a bit about her process? I highly recommend visiting the Soleil MetalArts page on Facebook. The artist operates her page like a blog, and regularly updates by posting her work in progress, news and other studio information. Here you will find beautiful examples of her metal sculpture and functional art objects, such as the metal planter boxes pictured below. Her work ranges in price; dictated mainly by size, material, and creative process. Prices for her jewelry begin around $100 for small copper cuffs (she also works in sterling silver, which has a slightly higher starting price-point); traffic light birdbaths start at $125; and larger pieces such the ribbons birdbath at top begin at around $1,200 – $1,500. Soleil MetalArts accepts all kinds of creative commissions, but does not do production work. Shawn McCurdy is an artist, and everything the she creates is one-of-a-kind…

Shawn McCurdy – Soleil MetalArts – planter boxes in the studio

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For more information about Shawn McCurdy and/or to contact her about her artwork, please visit:

Soleil MetalArts Website or Soleil MetalArts Facebook Page

All photographs in this article appear courtesy of Shawn McCurdy and Soleil MetalArts, all rights reserved.

Thank you so much for making the time for this interview Shawn, and for sharing your beautiful metalwork with The Gardener’s Eden !

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Article ⓒ 2010 Michaela at TGE

All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used or reproduced without prior written consent. Inspired by something you see here? Great! Please give credit where credit is due. It’s a small world and link-love makes for fond friendships. Stealing makes for bad dreams…

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