Hello all! Not sure if you noticed, but I took a couple of weeks off from posting over the holidays. I started writing a post each week, but I did not have the energy. I just didn’t. These things take a surprisingly long time to put together. I enjoy doing it very much though, which is why I’m back at it this week with the first post of 2019! Hurrah!
I awoke early Thursday morning and met my friend Talia at Lionel-Groulx metro. We took the long ride to Pie-IX on an old metro car and then a brisk walk up to the Montreal Botanical Gardens.
We were the first ones to arrive and had the place completely to ourselves. It was very quiet save for the slow shushing of sheets of ice sloshing off of the glass roof. There had been a night of freezing rain and the ice was slowly being shifted by the gentle but persuasive rays of winter sun. We took a leisurely stroll through all of the inner rooms of the greenhouse, marking the changes that had occurred in the time since our last visit.
Upon entering the Bonsai room, we saw that the gardeners had allowed an artificial autumn to occur- the deciduous trees had lost many of their leaves, and those which still clung to the branches were painted in vibrant reds, golds and oranges. There was a chill in the air that hadn’t been there during the summer months. There were two workers with a chainsaw who were removing an old architectural feature, except for them we were alone. They were dismantling a Japanese screen around which an old Wysteria vine was wrapped. To preserve the growth, they strategically sawed the screen into small pieces and removed them one at a time.
As we entered the Tillandsia room, the noise of the chainsaw dampened into an echo of a faraway ship horn. The air was damp and temperate, and I felt as though we had walked into a private jungle.
The garden is the perfect complement to winter in Montreal. In the morning hours, you may feel that you have whisked yourself away from the bitter wind to another land. It’s a beautiful way to start the day. Even better as an artist - the garden has hundreds, if not thousands, of species of plants to draw from observation. You could choose a new one to draw every time you visit and have subject matter for years. You could also work from the same plant time and again, and notice the small changes that elapse over the course of months and years.
Talia and I discussed the relationship one cultivates with a thing one has drawn - after having drawn something, you feel as though you know it intimately, almost as a friend. Having previously visited to draw the plant life, we greeted the friends we had made in the past before settling down in the comfortably warm Begonia room to make some new ones.
After having set up our picnic, we were told (in a very friendly way) that patrons are not encouraged to bring food into the garden with them, so hide your snacks and don’t leave garbage behind if you decide to plan your own drawing date!
One of the cool things about drawing in public places like this where a lot of people come as a family or in groups of students is that you tend to get a lot of passers-by interested in what you are doing. Kids are always very excited to see what you are working on, and it’s motivating to see how art leads to forming these pressure-free moments of connection between people. It’s one of the things that I love about creating things like a drawing or a meal, it’s always more enjoyable when you share them.
That’s all for today folks, I hope you have a lovely Friday. With Butters snoring not-so-quietly beside me, I’m signing off to get outside! xx