Painting: Michael Ross

“Hey!  This one looks like its in 3-D.”  This comment by a fellow museum visitor piqued my curiosity while viewing Emerging Artists (Museum of Arts and Sciences, Macon, Georgia). Optical art was not among the contemporary work.  Missing were strategically placed lighting effects.  Yet Michael Ross’ canvases were aglow with activity, color and light.

Ross notes in his artist’s statement:

‘The figures in my paintings are on the move.  They exist in transient flux but have a sense of mission: a decision is looming, an obstacle lies ahead that will leave them changed…Like a film director, I want to create  worlds [that] must feel real and lived, if heightened and cinematic. ‘

Waxwing in a New Forest.  Image from Emerging Artists exhibit Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, Georgia)

Despite all this drama, it was Ross’s quiet lush landscapes that kept me captivated at the exhibition.  His oil painting Waxwing in a New Forest simmers with the thick humidity of the South.  The transplanted Marylander has embraced his new home “with all its beauty and tragedy.”

 Want to see more of Michael Ross work?


Ceramics: Ester Lipscomb

In her bio Ester Lipscomb describes herself as “a studio potter working in northeast Georgia.”  A humble understatement from such a sophisticated ceramicist!

Perhaps having a close connection to the earth, or owning a pet dog named Loretta Lynn is what grounds this dynamic artist.

Northeast Georgia, US

Lipscomb muses “Living in these beautiful mountains gives me the opportunity to enjoy the daily flow of nature and the seasons.  I am inspired to create objects that I hope are part of the landscape.” True to their maker’s sensibilities her work has a natural ebb and flow taking on bulbous organic forms.

I was recently introduced to Lipscomb’s work at the Emerging Artists exhibit – Museum of Arts and Sciences (Macon, Georgia).  This annual event features 7 contemporary artists from around the Southeast whose work is of exceptional caliber.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll spotlight their art.

Want to see more of Ester Lipscomb’s work?

GARDENING · Southernisms

Gardening for Nature

Dear Mr. Garden Guy,

Why didn’t you warn me about “gardening for nature?”

I grew up in the ‘hood of the 1970s.  My childhood home was a dilapidated duplex apartment on a dusty dirt street.  The heavy summer rains would push the red mud between the gaps under the front door.   I hated that mud.  I hated that dirt. But my mother Daisy knew what to do with them both.   Outside she grew the prettiest little flowers in that mud and dirt.  She planted them near the small stoop of our front porch.  When the blossoms thrived under her care, the dirt and mud didn’t seem all that bad.

I wanted to work magic with that dirt and mud like my momma.  I wanted to understand nature.

So dear Garden Guy I read your books about the flora and fauna of my native state.   I watched your television shows and attended your lectures.

I readily embraced nature and all its fresh-air goodness when my husband and I purchased property that included woodland.

Our Backyard

I knew “nature” was hiding in those woods  and I was determined to coax it out – to see it up close.  I asked you, Mr. Garden Guy, and you told me to “garden for nature.”  You told me to provide fresh water, food and shelter and they will come.

So I did and they did!

  • Birds: Millet plants, quality bird seeds, suet cake
  • Deer: feeder corn, weedy dandelions left to grow
  • Squirrels and relatives: raw peanuts, leafy greens

Soon our backyard looked like a scene from a Disney movie.  Deer, squirrels, chipmunks, oh my!

But Dear Garden Guy what you didn’t tell me that “nature” wouldn’t go away nor stick to its assigned menus.

  • Happy yellow pansies endured the cold of winter, only to become a deer’s nighttime snack.
  • Wasps visited the hummingbird feeder more often than the intended guest.
  • A disgruntled squirrel chewed off a piece of our back door when it couldn’t get to the hanging birdfeeder.

My relationship with “nature” became strained.   Then a red-tailed hawk set up home in our woods.  And the troublesome population began to get a little less troublesome and a little less populated.

So you see Mr. Garden Guy, the best way to “garden for nature” is to just leave it alone.  It can get along just fine without any help from me!

Our woodland