Tuesday, July 12, 2016

More Soul Windows

Here are a few more:
Soul Window: Blue Crystal, MRobb, 2016
Soul Window: Forest, MRobb, 2016
Soul Window: BlueGreen, MRobb, 2016
And some that aren't based on tiles, but gardens!
Soul Garden, MRobb, 2016

These last two are tiny, just a few cm square:
TinyArt, Gardeners' Hands, MRobb, 2016

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Paint a Window: Soul Windows

I haven't done a painting post for nearly a year, I think. If I weren't too lazy to look this up in my blog archive, I would know for sure, but my sandy memory tells me it's been about a year.

My new series has been going on for several months, and I call them Soul Windows. I suppose they could just as easily be called Soul Tiles, since they are based on tiles, but never mind that. They are designed to be portable and used for meditation. Here are a few:
Soul Window Purple, MRobb, 2016
Soul Window Yellow and Blue, MRobb, 2016
Soul Window Magenta, MRobb, 2016
Sometimes, I don't go with tiles, but with flowers or feathers:
Pink Feather, MRobb, 2016
They are painted on wood, Aquabord or Gessobord (though any gesso'd Masonite would work well) with layers of crackle paste, various glitters and pigments, watercolors, and acrylic interference paints. Pouring medium is used at the end to give a smooth, shiny, "surfboard finish". I learned this surfboard finish from the amazing acrylic artist Nancy Reyner (do give her a Google).

The tiles are usually studded with tiny Swarovski crystals or bits of gemstone. The end result is glowing color and toughness so they can be lugged around in...luggage. I've always liked portable shrines that are used in many religions, so I may try enclosing these in wooden boxes than can be opened and shut. Maybe I'll use old cigar boxes. Right now they are housed in silk bags. We'll see where it all goes!

Have a creative weekend!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Plants Share Their Food!

We've learned how plants can compete for sunshine and water and space. We know they can communicate with each other through the soil and the air. But now we've learned that plants, particularly trees, can also share their food! (Big thanks to Alert Gardener Jim for this news flash.)

Tropical Garden, MRobb
 "Competition between individual plants for resources is well known, but sharing of resources may also occur. Klein et al. observed tree-to-tree carbon shuttling between roots of tall trees in a mixed temperate forest in Switzerland (see the Perspective by van der Heijden). By applying stable carbon isotope labeling to individual tree canopies, they show that up to 40% of the carbon in the fine roots of one individual may be derived from photosynthetic products of a neighbor. Carbon transfer of this kind, mediated by plant-associated fungi, or mycorrhizae, in the soil, has been reported on a smaller scale in seedlings, but not before in trees. "
       Science, this issue p. 342; see also p. 290

Alpine Stream, MRobb

 Many gardeners, particularly gardeners of rare plants, have noted that the plants do better in groups, and outdoors in open soil if conditions allow. We know some of those reasons. What I call the Fungi-Net, which is basically a communications system built with soil fungi, allows plants to share data. Also the Formi-Net, which allows plants to communicate via their ant symbionts, helps some plants like Tillies to reach out to their world. Now we've found that the Fungi-Net does much more than facilitate communication- it allows plants to share their resources.
Railroad Vine, MRobb
Ethically speaking, should we be growing our plants in groups, and ensuring fungi are growing well in their soil? What do you all think, gardeners? Any ethicist botanists wish to comment?

Lithops, MRobb