Garden On, Vashon

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For the Book, Back to Painting: Lyn Buscalgia’s garden

September 11th, 2013 at Wed, 11th, 2013 at 2:21 pm by Karen Dale

Lyn Kiwi Arbor

Two Updates: first, “60 Minutes” unexpectedly and without explanation cancelled on Jo Robinson. Darn…

Second, I have a printer’s proof in hand of my book, “Garden On, Vashon!” The book will be printed 2-3 weeks after I return the proof to them, so I’ll probably have books to sell by October. Kickstarter pledgers will get their copies first, then I’ll take a couple weeks of selling them myself. By November, expect to see copies for sale in your local retail Island outlets. It will NOT be available as an e-book or through Amazon: you gotta get yours directly from me or other Island vendors. But what a great Christmas present it will be… (hint!)

Lyn Buscalgia’s Garden

In return for her Kickstarter pledge, I owe Lyn a painting & blog of her garden. I haven’t painted at all this Great Recession, so thought I’d kickstart my own return to oil painting by promising to go paint a few gardens.

Lyn’s is the first. Her home is, to my eye, very Northwest Style: wood-sided, dark-stained two-story modern with interesting angles, very architectural, just north of Burton. Though you can see Quartermaster Harbor through the trees, in truth the home & garden is set back into the forest and is thus shady and sloped. And this being in well-populated Burton, her outdoor space is not much bigger than an urban yard and has all its problems: smallness, highway and neighbors close by, big tree roots to cope with.

Lilies Astilbes

All these problems are met beautifully in the Buscalgia garden. I first went there during a summer’s garden club fete, when this small space easily accommodated 50 women, all drinking mimosas and NOT tripping over each other. The space succeeds because it’s so much divided: here a pair of adirondacks, behind them a pergola over a cafe table and more chairs. Many terraces makes levels out of the slope, and a central stair divides those levels yet again. A kiwi arbor shelters three more chatting women shaded by its big leaves. Artworks and gorgeous plants such as hostas and lilies, astilbes and ligularias are displayed along brief pathways to make visitors stop and stare. All these spatial divisions make a small garden seem larger because there’s so many places to be, to look, to gather, within it.

So that became the subject of the painting. Lyn and her husband like to come out to the adirondacks and read, favorite drinks on the side-table between them. I took photos, then at home, drew a grid and color-washed in with oil washes the major elements. Over the following week, and drawing inspiration from my art library including a copy of John Singer Sargent’s “Carnation Lily Rose,” I came up with this—

Lyn Ptg Step 7 near Final


gardens on the south end of Vashon Island, on a sandy hilltop overlooking Quartermaster Harbor. "Garden On, Vashon" shares what the Island has to teach us about gardening HERE—from making soils to sowing seeds to raising plants to harvest, cooking, preserving, and designing new ways to cultivate your little chunk of Vashon Island. To contact me, email, or leave a comment.

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