Beneath My Feet

Gouache on Watercolour Canvas, 48 X 48"

I began my artistic career as a painter. As engaged as I become with other artistic processes, I always enjoy returning to my artistic roots. As I worked on this exhibition, I created paintings that related to its theme.

This work is a careful rendering of 16 square-foot sections of my lawn.  The panels are arranged to hang together as a kind of patchwork quilt.  I am fascinated by the concept of the lawn.  I had always thought of my lawn as environmentally friendly because we use no pesticides or herbicides.  Prior to embarking on this project and its associated botanical learning curve, I had been unaware of what exactly grew within the confines of my lawn.  I was unaware of the number of invasive, non-native species of plant that grows there.  I certainly did not know that I had wheat growing in it (see Herbarium)!  All I knew was that it was an “ugly” lawn by the standards of my neighbourhood.  I doubt I would find one neighbour who would say that this lawn of mine is even nice, let alone beautiful.  Once I rendered this lawn on canvas and hung it on a wall, however, people have almost unanimously responded by declaring how beautiful this work (my lawn) is. 

This painting demonstrates the tension between our perceptions of beauty and ugliness, responsibility and irresponsibility, social pressures and environmental awareness.