Art Where We Live - Part III, by Wendy DeRaud

I want to live in beauty, that's important to me. I want to have my outer world reflect the best part of me, the inside places that I am cultivating like a beautiful garden, well watered and fertilized, bearing much fruit, with tomatoes for my table, and cut flowers for the centerpiece.


Every garden is a point of creation.

I saw much beauty reflected in the garden patio at my friend's house the other day. She had invited me over for red wine with noshes and nibbles, and had placed them colorfully on a heavy wooden tray: dark purple grapes, orange marbled chunks of cheese, well-seeded sliced everything bagels, and Cuties in segments.




Her garden had been well-cared for. She keeps her new plants in pots until she knows that they've found the happy spot in which to be planted, or perhaps they'll stay in pots just because they've been habituated there. She especially loves Japanese Maples right now, and just purchased several varieties, all with unique variegated leaves, delicate and wispy, mostly dusty muted oranges.





Offset by turquoise and teal pots, they look regal and yet delicate. Others with understated color and grace - Columbine and a young potted white dogwood tree - were placed next to a pot fountain at the entry, offset from the fence, making for a discreet introduction to her patio.






There is a wooden hanging swing stained red underneath a large pecan tree, and next to that, a sitting area around a fire pit where we could catch a few rays of sunshine to warm us, along with the wine, in the dappled shaded afternoon light.

I felt at peace in the middle of her art work. She had curated each piece, and each corner and niche was a part of the composition that was fashioned by her artist's eye. It carried the weight of her story, and it brought the beauty outside from within, carving out a special sitting area for her friends and family to settle into.


It spoke hope and redemption, life from tragedy, for her life had been in the process of recovering from much tragedy.

Her home is the same way, oozing beauty, light, color and familial warmth. She cares so much about just the right color on the wall that she repainted the entire house in a beautiful warm gray just because she wanted to, because it was right. Much of her work, inside and out, has been to recreate her life.




This is my friend, her palette, her canvas, her composition. The atmosphere all around me speaks, and resounds in homeliness, in comfort and repose. She has transmuted her garden patio into a new life and purpose for herself.

I can imagine that some people come here and don't see anything. I know that happens when non-visual, non-artistic people come into my home and don't notice the art work and the decor I placed intentionally to be noticed and appreciated, but they don't seem to see  the details I had intended to bless them.





That's okay, because even so, the atmosphere holds something like an aroma or a vibration that imparts and leaves an impression on ones senses, giving a sense of place.





My friend has a gift in the art of creating a home. She isn't a professional designer, but without much money, she has the sensibility of a designer as she knows how to arrange and establish something meaningful as an expression to give to her guests and her family. And to give to herself.




Art can transmute, art can give hope and a sense of place. That's why we need art where we live.