Botanic conversations

Dear Monty,

I had a wonderful time at the Orchid Festival organised by at the National Botanic Garden of Wales this weekend.

I strolled through the walled garden in scented butterflied solitude and watched a red kite fly low over the walls and Sir Norman Foster's glasshouse.

The garden slowly woke up to the sound of birds and conversation.

I admired the late summer wild flower oval in front of Principality House, and the ruby chard growing in the vegetable borders.

Most of all I enjoyed making connections with those who have the same love of the natural world.
It is truly a privilege to be part of this annual event.

I agonised over my paintings again, I do this every time I put them on public display, it is a bit like exposing yourself - will people think I am a fraud, a failed artist etc etc. I need not have fretted.


A friend there said ' This generation is all about "me" , who wants to read about what someone had for breakfast on Twitter or Facebook ? ' Well I cannot exempt myself from this generation, and I too have this need to be accepted, I believe it is there in all of us to a certain measure, it can be  a strong driving force in our lives which can lead to all kinds of misery if we are not careful.

Where do we go for acceptance - do we look for success - have to keep fighting to be in the light ?

Another person asked a question of me, ' Now we have thrown out faith as the foundation for our lives in this country - on what do we build our lives ? Where does our moral guidance come from - who sets the boundaries ? '

I'm not sure what people build lives upon, but I was amazed that these conversations were sparked by looking at my paintings and our love of the natural world.

I confess that I too get hooked by Twitter, and I felt a rush of esteem when I read your supportive comments regarding this blog. But here is the thing Monty; where does it lead ? Building self esteem on the opinion of others is a risky business, as I suspect you already know. However, it is good for us to find merit in things which are excellent or praiseworthy, to think on such things is my salvation.

I felt the same rush of esteem when having a conversation with . Polly a botanical artist, talked of her sense of achievement and joy in developing her skills as an artist and connecting with others through her art and most importantly being true to her vision.

Being true to your vision was also the theme of another conversation with an artist and plant hunter/collector who said she would not 'sell her soul to the Devil' and change her painting style to become popular and 'contemporary'. She would not compromise her belief that art comes from the soul.

It is the same connection I observed being made between lovers of orchids - passing on knowledge and passion to one another. These - these are the good things in changing and sometimes threatening days - a passion and a care for beauty and each other.

I need to continually learn this lesson.



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