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The Artist's Water Garden

Serena Rose's watergarden

I never dreamed that many years ago when we began creating our pond, that it would inspire me in exciting new ways. The pond has become like a friend to me and I have come to know it intimately in all its seasons. After so many years, I am still amazed by the effect it has had and is still having on me and my art.

In the beginning, I sat with my pad and paper by the pond drawing a water lily bloom and the water drops on it. As I was drawing the flower, I kept noticing the goldfish swimming through the reflections of the lily bloom at the waters surface. I noticed that the colors of the goldfish were lighter where the reflections were on the fishes body. Then I noticed that, where the flower touched the surface of the water, there was a bright highlight at the edge. Then, as I sat quietly studying these things, a little leopard frog climbed onto the lily pad next to the flower unaware of my presence. After a few minutes, another little leopard frog climbed onto the pad. For me this was very inspiring and, right then, the painting "For The Love of Water" was conceived. It was the very first of the water garden paintings. You can see this image on the Offset Lithos page. The two little leopard frogs were featured again later in "Pond of Dreams".

From the beginning I was very attracted to the details of the pond. I wanted to draw the details that I was seeing. For me, it became like a botanical study. I wanted to understand everything that was happening and why. I studied the highlights on the water and what was creating them. I watched the flower buds come up from the bottom of the pond to emerge spotless. I watched them open up and change daily. The most fascinating were the lotus blooms because they grow so fast. The blooms are huge and very fragrant. In a natural pond, the roots can go down 6 feet.

I learned to sit very quietly in the pond environment and I began to see things that I had never seen before. I got to watch a dragonfly nymph emerge from the water and climb up an iris leaf and transform into a beautiful dragonfly. The process takes about an hour. This is featured in the painting "Reflections", which shows the dragonfly holding onto its original nymph shell. This painting is on the Previous Works page. I was fascinated to see all of the things that were happening around the pond. I watched the lotus blooms open up and the bees struggling to get inside to the glowing pollen before they were open enough for them to even get in. I would observe the pond from early morning light until deep into the evening and I would marvel at how much the changes in lighting would change the appearance of the pond. Now I understand how Monet felt about his garden. One night, on a full moon, I could see the moon reflected in the water. Then a huge moth flew past and I saw its reflection against the moon's reflection. This can be seen in the painting "Moonlit Night" which is on the Previous Works page. Each time of the day, the lighting would make the colors of everything so different. My favorite time is the early morning. The lily blooms open early and so do the lotus blooms. The beautiful ginko tree, which is situated next to the pond, shades part of the pond and protects an area where many ferns grow. I love the way the light filters through the the ginko leaves to catch the edges of the fern leaves and cast light on them.

Once I became comfortable with my knowledge of my subject matter, I was ready to introduce the human element back into my art. I started having friends and family members model for me around the pond. I was also given a little duckling who graced the pond for a year. What a charmer, and what a model! When the little duckling was only two weeks old, a friend brought her little girl for a visit to see the pond and the duckling. It was love at first sight. The little girl played with the ducking all day by the pond. It is a day highlighted in my memories. I have had so many gracious models visit the pond that I feel very fortunate. Once I began putting people back into my paintings, I felt like an old friend had come back to me. When I met my art teacher in Key West many years ago, I wanted to study with him because he was a great figure painter and that is what I was attracted to. Now I feel that I am expressing in my art what I have always wanted to and I feel I owe a lot of it to the life and beauty of my pond.

"Pond fills artist with inspiration" article by Amy McRary written in 1995.

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Inhabitants of the Pond

More Pond Photos >>

Baby Bullfrog
baby bullfrog, they grow up and can cause a lot of problems with the eco system.
Male Fantailed Goldfish
Male fantailed goldfish, they have white shinny spots on their gills.
Damsel fly
Damselfly on a lotus bud
Grey Tree Frog
Grey Tree Frog shown with a human hand shows how small they are.