A Canvas of Earth
What is the canvas of your artistic expression?
“Pen and ink,” says the writer.
“Wet clay” says one sculptor,
“Wood” says another,
“Stone” says a third.
And then the painters chime in
singing, “Oils,” “Pencils,”
“Charcoal,” and “Acrylic”
in 4-part harmony.
“Film” shouts a cinematographer,
“Pixels” shouts another,
and the photographers beat a steady rhythm
on the lens covers of their cameras.
Our own Princess Pennie
is of that ancient tribe
“The Daughters of Eve”
who claim the earth as their canvas.
The inheritance of the daughters
goes back to the book of Genesis…
Do you believe the Bible to be a message from God,
or merely the writings of desert nomads?
Either way, it is an interesting book.
In the second chapter of that first book,
“The Lord God took the man
and put him in the Garden of Eden
to work it and take care of it.”
But evidently, Adam didn’t have
quite enough of that particular talent,
so just three verses later the Lord God said,
“It is not good for the man to be alone,”
and Eve became his partner in the effort.
Dozens of centuries later,
daughter Elizabeth Murray observed,
“Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint,
and the soil and the sky as canvas.”
Two hundred and fourteen years ago,
the poet William Wordsworth added,
“Laying out grounds may be considered a liberal art,
in some sort like poetry and painting.” 1
One hundred and twenty-two years ago, Sidney Hare said,
“Show me a city without parks and boulevards and I will show you
a people far behind the times in every way. Parks educate the people
in an art equally as grand as the art of painting or sculpture…” 2
In 1941, the immortal John Steinbeck said,
“Places are able to evoke moods, as color
and line in a picture may capture and
warp us to a pattern the painter intended.” 3
Eleven years later, Steinbeck elaborated,
“The spring flowers in a wet year were unbelievable. The whole valley floor, and the foothills too, would be carpeted with lupins and poppies. Once a woman told me that colored flowers would seem more bright if you added a few white flowers to give the colors definition. Every petal of blue lupin is edged with white, so that a field of lupins is more blue than you can imagine.” 4
And daughter Shauna Niequist adds,
“Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.” 5
I agree. It is not good for the man to be alone.
Roy H. Williams
- In a letter to Sir George H. Beaumont, Grasmere, (Oct. 17, 1805)
- Sidney J. Hare, a pioneer in Landscape Architecture, (1897)
- John Steinbeck, Sea of Cortez, p. 256, (1941)
- John Steinbeck, East of Eden, p. 4. (1952)
- Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet, (2013)