Spring Flowers and Spring Art

Can you believe that just a few weeks ago we, meaning my area, were totally buried in snow? Now the weather is fabulous, possibly even a little too hot, with the sun shining, birds chirping and grass turning green so quickly you'd think it was being colorized. (This isn't going to be true for all readers of course. I got a tweet from someone in Colorado yesterday saying it was snowing. If that's your story you might want to either reread this in a couple of weeks or get ready for a road trip.) It's the perfect time for me to head down to the National Arboretum and visit the azaleas, which are almost criminally beautiful this time of year. But I like to check out more than just the flowers; I'm also a big fan of the art that can be found in various arboretums.

The Reedy Gallery at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is running an exhibit called Flowers Fantastique, with some absolutely beautiful paintings of various flowers. Take a look at this piece called Cone Flower, painted by Joan Hickey. I love the colors. http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/UserFiles/Image/Cone%20Flower%20-Joan%20Hic... If you love a particular painting you can buy it and take it home, feeling good knowing a portion of the price goes to support the arboretum. Details can be found here: http://www.arboretum.umn.edu/FlowersFantastique.aspx This event ends on May 31 of this year.

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is hosting a spectacular glass sculpture installation by artist Hans Godo Frabel. Called Reflections of Glass, it just opened on April 1 and runs through January 10, 2011. From their blog:

What will people see in Reflections of Glass at Lewis Ginter?
More than one hundred pieces comprise the exhibit, which ranges from the realistic (brightly colored frogs and intricate portrayals of orchids, lotuses and waterlilies) to the whimsical (“sprite-like” figures, masks and large-scale geometric shapes. Smaller pieces will invite viewers to step in for a closer look while larger ones will amaze with sheer impact. In all cases, Frabel’s work “plays” with its surroundings – offering ever-changing views.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides an intimate setting for these jewel-like sculptures and visitors will enjoy playing their own games of “I Spy” as they are surprised and delighted by fanciful forms at every turn. Sculptures will be featured both indoor and out-of-doors.

To make matters even more interesting, the sculptures will change with the seasons. Right now A Million Blooms is the name of the display. The entire thing will culminate with GardenFest of Lights 2010, featuring more than half a million lights. More details can be found here:

The Morris Arboretum in Pennsylvania is dedicated to collecting and maintaining a collection of sculpture that will complement the gardens. Some of the sculptures are fairly new and some are older, like Mercury, a bronze cast of the Greek God, which will be a century old on 2013. I like the Cotswold Sheep, which are 125 percent larger than actual sheep, to prevent them from being overwhelmed by their enormous meadow. I also really like a piece called Inside Out, which is a look at both the inside and the outer layer of limestone menhirs. African Queen, an undated sculpture carved from serpentine stone, is from Zimbabwe by an anonymous artist, and looks amazing. You can find out more about these and other sculptures here: http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/arboretum/gardens_sculptures.shtm...

The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens at James Madison University is hosting an exhibition of abstract, whimsical paintings by Nancy Jane Dodge through the end of April. Oil on canvas, these paintings are fun and high-spirited. While you're at the arboretum you can also visit the herbarium so long as you don't write in any of the library books. You can get more details here: http://www.jmu.edu/arboretum/

The San Francisco Botanical Garden has a nice watercolor exhibit running through the end of the month called Natured Observed. Featuring work by Thomas P. Rohlen, these very detailed paintings are for sale, so if you see something you love you can make it your own. http://www.sfbotanicalgarden.org/library/page6.html

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from Dustin Harbin, who tweets as @dustinharbin, who had some tweets about a book he read that caught my eye. He was kind enough to let me rerun his tweets, which I present now, "OMG I just got to the end of Hunters of Dune (the post-quel written by F.Herbert's son) on audiobook. It is the worst. WHAT a travesty." He followed that up with, "If it really was from Herbert's notes, those notes should have been burned. #itsaboutrobots #robots #seriously." Do you have a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me for consideration. You can reach me at feedback@qualitytimeweekly.com.