Art and Gardens - Reinforcing Beauty

Saturday, November 30, 2013

"Energy I " by Micajah Bienvenu
Photo by Bruce Amundson

By Bruce Amundson

While I was eating breakfast one morning this week the first rays of the morning sun illuminated the rich red hues of a redwood sculpture off our deck. Last week’s full moon lit up the soaring steel sculpture shown here as I looked out our darkened bedroom window. And - I experienced these visual delights without even going outside into our garden.

Outdoor sculptures have dramatically added to the enjoyment of our garden. They help us to “see” more acutely as they provide an endless array of visual pleasures: textures, shapes, colors, and reflections of their natural surroundings. In summary, the art adds visual interest to our living spaces whether we are inside or out. It just makes our world more fun, more interesting, more dynamic.

Many residents of the Pacific Northwest have lovely gardens. It’s quite easy, then, to evolve to the notion of our gardens being enhanced by sculpture. There is a powerful symbiosis that occurs when art and nature are married: a particular site in a garden makes a piece of sculpture look more stunning, and the sculpture makes a garden infinitely more beautiful and visually stimulating. 

Many people assume that purchasing sculpture is only for the very wealthy, the benefactors of museums. Wrong! One can buy lovely sculptures in many mediums by northwest artists for the cost of a summer vacation or a new living room set. It’s not the cost for many people, it’s just getting the idea that it’s both achievable and affordable, together with some aesthetic passion that it could add beauty to one’s personal space.

"Razzamataz" by Brian Yates
Photo by Bruce Amundson

In its short history the city of Shoreline has acquired a number of pieces of public sculpture that are placed in our parks and byways. It recently added a monumental redwood sculpture to the Kruckeberg Botanic Garden. Ros Bird, Public Art Coordinator for the city, has creatively led this effort, and this summer opened the Second Annual Sculpture Walk at city hall and the surrounding park. The artists selected for the show have graciously donated their 14 pieces for an entire year for all of us to enjoy. All are for sale.

Shoreline is becoming a city of both public and personal outdoor art. The more sculpture we have in both these types of spaces, the more interesting our city becomes. But the more people who add sculptures to their personal spaces, the richer their visual lives and their gardens become. I urge you to think of including a sculpture in your garden. It will dramatically enhance the quality of your home and personal space. (Of course, it would also support the artists who are donating their creative products to our city’s outdoor art show. We can’t expect them to continue to do that if nothing sells, if we don’t show our appreciation for their generosity and their artistic creations.) 

If you haven’t been to the city hall grounds to view the works, I urge you to bring the kids and family and take a stroll. If you’d like to see how JoAnn and I have enhanced our garden with sculpture, please feel free to contact us ( and we’ll do a walk-through. The photos accompanying this article illustrate the beauty that a couple of our pieces contribute to our garden. Let me warn you, though - beauty is infectious, but it’s a great infection to have.


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