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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label art. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label art. Show all posts

      Tuesday, June 24, 2014


      The first day of summer finds me, Ben and Jen in my new all time favorite garden, Bedrock, in Lee NH. Turns out I'm not so jaded from 20 years of touring gardens with the Garden Writers Association that I can't be moved by this idiosyncratic wonderland. Mowed spaces and meadow intermingle.
      The creation of the wife and husband team Jill Nooney and Bob Unger,  Bedrock Gardens is on their home ground and open to the lucky public 5 weekends a year and by appointment to groups.
      Jill's garden art in combination with perfect plant selection makes the garden a joy to stroll.
      I restrain myself from peeling the paperbark maple to use in a collage, but just barely.
      In the White Garden allium wait to pop, look like 'White Giant' to me. This isn't a botanic garden but a pleasure garden, so no signs.
      The white fringed Papaver are at peak on this cool day.
       Nooney's sculpture 'Julia' looks exasperated; perhaps she's thinking of all the work to keep up this garden. Those cooking spoons will never do it.
      Munger, a retired physician, designs walkways, water features and other satisfying architectural elements.
       In the All-You-Need-is-Balls garden more giant allium are on the verge of popping.
      In the shed and barn, rusty metal elements await transformation.
      Just when you think 'I could never do that'...
      you spy the home patio with myriad containers featuring circles and foliage plants. Yes you can 'do that' even in a small space.

      Friday, November 1, 2013


      photo courtesy of Jen P. Hopkins
      Jen and I push our way off the 23 Crosstown bus and stroll down 10th Ave, on our way to an art gallery and then The High Line. Cars are honking, sirens are blaring and behind a white picket fence we spy this scene.
      I laugh out loud at the incongruity of largest swath of lawn in Chelsea with grazing sheep. Getty Station a new public art program just opened its inaugural show, Sheep Station by the late Francois-Xavier Lalanne, featuring 25 of his epoxy stone and bronze 'Moutons'. I'm assured by a gallery attendant that there are two kinds of sod, Kentucky blue grass and another kind that he can't remember and I can't identify.
      This was an actual filling station, much as I remember it, in a commercial neighborhood now with rolling hills and lolling sheep.
      The pleasure of walking anywhere in this city is stumbling across the surreal, and in this area, The High Line is responsible for a renaissance.

      Monday, June 10, 2013


      Collage on canvas, photos, acrylic, pressed leaves © ellen spector platt, all rights reserved.

      Not The High Line Park, but my collage version made from 37 images I captured during 15 visits in different seasons starting in 2009. I select, print on plain acid free paper and cut out features that I want to include.
      Starting with more images than I think I need I lay out the picture, below in its first approximation.
      Then add more images,
      including a man stooping down on the right, photographing hydrangea and tracks leading into the picture enhancing the  perspective. Nothing is glued yet.
      Move the man to the left, add a boy to the right, more Liatris on the left.
      Dab the canvas with blue acrylic paint using a dry paper towel. Glue down the skyline starting from the top overlapping as I go, then the rest of the images. Note below, both the boy and the man have been edited out. This skyline is my own, reconfigured from buildings I see from this fabulous walkway. The flowers I include don't all bloom simultaneously.
      I add pressed leaves of Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) because they grow on The High Line. These come from my own garden of course. In the lower third, I add more images coated in acrylic gel medium crushed into 3D elements. See what I mean in the finished piece at the top.

      Tuesday, February 5, 2013


      Where are we on a frigid Superbowl Sunday?
      Need another clue?
      Gardening New Yorkers will immediately recognize the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
      We're at the Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery for the opening reception of the show "Visions of Nature". It's the annual showcase for adult students and instructors of the popular art classes at the BBG.
      After  years of teaching gardening classes there, I led my first art workshop this fall, in conjunction with the publication of my new book, Artful Collage from Found Objects. Two of my students entered works in the show, as did I, their Garden Memories in Collage.
      Above, Season Transition by Laura V. Osorio, collage with papers, bark, pressed plant materials.
       Above, Light in the Forest  and detail by Gail R. Levine, collage with papers, bark, cones, pressed plant materials.
      Above, Greening the Westside Rooftops by Ellen Spector Platt, photo collage with found papers and netting, mixed media. I'm always trying to add roofgardens to the city, one way or another.

      Also much admired was PD Packard's Wild Black Eyed Susan, ink and watercolor on Kozo Paper, from the Chinese brush painting class.

      These guys and I admire the photos from Karen Bell's classes in nature photography at the Garden. In fact I'm scheming how I could take one of her classes myself.
      For more information and a link to this show, see the article top left of this blog in the BYTE NOW
      And if you need another excuse to visit the garden now, the important bonsai collection in the same conservatory building offers this cherry in bloom among the specimens.
      Click on any image to enlarge.

      Monday, January 28, 2013


      January 19th on The High Line and the Jelena witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena') startles with its blaze. The dead brown leaves don't drop but survive on the shrub's branches. At first I'm put off by the dead/live combo, but the sun shinning through the flowers is irrepressible.
      Brilliant blue berries on juniper pair with grape holly (Mahonia x media 'Winter Sun')
      in full bloom.
       Even where the trees and shrubs are totally bare, the colors of birch and willow bark make me appreciate the thought behind the plant choices. But plants aren't the whole reason for going to The High Line right now. Art abounds.
      At 23rd. St when we entered we were greeted by this street art on an adjacent building.
      Then unexpectedly there was a major piece using recycled pressed tin and mirror by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui. (below, partially hidden by the juniper, 'Broken Bridge II). 
       Reflections from nearby buildings incorporate themselves as part of the work. I didn't recognize the artist's name but the style kept niggling at my brain. When I got home I pieced together that he is the same artist I visit regularly at the Met Museum to pay homage to his  'Between Heaven and Earth'. He will have a major show of his monumental works at the Brooklyn Museum of Art from Feb. 8-Aug. 4, 2013.
      If you're tired of looking at plants and art, try the ever popular New York sport of people watching.
      What is the fascination of looking down on 10th Avenue?

      Above, the Empire State Building, grape holly, winterberry, witch hazel, and Jen P. Hopkins.

      Sunday, January 13, 2013

      SEE US NOW

      Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos are traveling to promote our books. We would LOVE to see you at our various events and have you introduce yourself as a blog reader.
      Coming soon to a town near you (if you live near Boston):
      Ellen Spector Platt, Feb.9, 2pm at the Andover bookstore, Andover MA, a free collage lesson and demo to promote her book, Artful Collage from Found Objects. To learn more...
      (pictured above, 'The 7 Train', photo collage from the 5Pointz area of Queens)

      where we'll both be speaking. Photos above and below from recent shows.
      For Ellen Zachos on March 5th it's Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat.

      For Ellen Spector Platt on March 6th it's Adventures in Garden Collage.
      See us both if you stay over one night, listen to other speakers, see the show in all it's glory, and if you're feet aren't totally shot, visit the new Barnes Foundation Museum within easy walking distance of the flower show.
      To learn more about the show visit....

      Thursday, July 19, 2012


      Last night I was one of the exhibiting artists at the Haym Salomon Arts Award a citywide competition for New York artists from non-profits who support and teach visual arts.  The theme of the exhibit this year was Visions of a Greener World. My collage "Water Lily Dreams"was nominated by the gallery DownstairsArt at the Carter Burden Center where I sometimes show my work.
      My own inspirations were photos I took at Longwood Gardens of the underside of the giant leaves and paper that Annabelle Platt had created in a painting session we had, that I begged to use. The other stuff in the collage are found objects, some copper wire snatched from the street, gold foil from a fancy chocolate bar, and a green plastic folder languishing in my office. Even the frame was recycled from another project.
      The complete collage is simple and subtle in tone: I was satisfied with the results and photographed it for my new book, Artful Collage from Found Objects, Stackpole Books, 2012. Note that the curve at the top is the same image as just below, though printed smaller and reversed. 

      I gazed at the collage on my wall for about three months, then added some color by way of two pink water lily flowers photographed at another time and place. With collage, it's often easy to add, but hard to undo.
       Artist, Ellen Spector Platt at the Haym Salomon Arts Award Ceremony, July 18, 2012
      To purchase the book with complete directions to make 46 collages from found materials, click on the book icon atop the column top left, 'We Recommend' .

      Thursday, February 16, 2012

      ART, SEEDS and DRINK

      Plant-o-Rama at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden is the midwinter extravaganza for serious gardeners. This year I had the pleasure of meeting folks from The Hudson Valley Seed library. Initially attracted by the art on their seed packs, I met Doug Muller who with Ken Greene is the force behind the program. I heard their story and was delighted to know that they'll have an Art Exhibit at the Hort. Society of NY, with the opening reception this Friday 2/17 from 6-8 PM. The exhibit itself runs until March 2, 2012 with a pop-up shop to buy the seeds.
      Hudson Valley Seed Library grows, collects, and sells over 200 varieties of heirloom flower, herb, and vegetable seeds in packs decorated by artists submitting to an annual competition.The seeds are open-pollinated, no hybrids or genetically modified seeds, saved by members of the Seed Library. To join the on-line community, see the catalog, and learn more about planting and saving seeds, visit seedlibrary.org.For more information on the gallery opening and buying seeds locally, visit the Hort. Society of NY.

      Saturday, September 24, 2011


      Two of my favorite pairings: a good book and lovely snack; a garden with art on display. On a rainy Friday I was treated to the latter, where artist Alexis Pace is showing her work in Le Petit Versailles Community garden, Houston Street between Ave B & Ave. C. The garden itself is tiny, but just big enough to provide a green and cultural oasis in Alphabet City. (double click on any image to enlarge)
      Pace has avoided the obvious (don't all gardens have sculpture?) by creating photographic images, which, though sleeved in plastic, are expected to degrade during the course of the show.In her artist's statement Pace says "Dis-Embodied/Re-Embodied is a site-specific garden installation of larger-than-life photographs. Five foot tall female body parts and limbs are abstracted and manipulated almost to the point of non-recognition, distilled back to their basic elements of lines and curves. Blown-up to a hyper-real size, they can no longer be compared to any “ideal” instead, they can once again be viewed and appreciated for their inherent beauty. As this is a month-long installation, the images are designed to naturally decay as the season progresses, further reflecting the impermanence of beauty."
      Someone has strewn mirrors around this small garden, reflecting and enlarging the plantings from all angles, a hot tip for any urban or small-space garden.
      Reduced to using my I-phone camera in the rain, these images can't possibly do justice to Pace's work, but you still have four more days to go see for yourself. If you're one of GardenBytes readers from Indonesia or Brazil, even So. Cal or NH, visit the artist at her website where she has some astounding images and her complete bio.
      This exhibit will run through the month of September, open to the public Thursday through Sunday 2-7pm, but like all community gardens run by volunteers, availability is somewhat flexible.

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