|Common Threads (Common Sense)|
I planted these flowers together (Echinacea purpurea ‘Razzmatazz’ and Geranium sanguineum ‘Rozanne’) because they share two common elements.
The first element? That raspberry color so obvious in Razzmatazz, and so delicate in Rozanne. The second? A slightly twisting curl. Again, showy in the reflexed petals of Razzmatazz (which becomes more pronounced as the flower develops. You can see an example here.) Yet, Rozanne’s twist is subtle — and visible only on close inspection of the stamens. Do you see it?
Now, when I plant a large bed using these flowers, I don’t really expect anyone to comment on these details, but I believe that on a subtle level, the bed works precisely because of the accretion of tiny resonances. We feel them more than we see them.
Rules of form, composition, balance, color theory, et cetera, all work to a point, but do not carry us over the line from technical excellence to art. To do that, the rules (or the rule breaking) must be in service of a larger intent: to deepen the relationship of the viewer to your artistic motivation.
The garden, rather than this photograph, was the expression of my intent, by the way. My intent does not translate visually: you have to feel it. So imagine with me: a children’s garden, a safe enclosure for a play area, conceived as a loving hug. From the arc of the flower beds, to the tiniest flower stamens — every element in this garden suggests a safe embrace of loving arms.
Does the photograph convey that? Hell, no. But in the garden? Yes.
Happy, silly, playful energetic love grows there.