The Garden Visitor by Carl Brenders

THE GARDEN VISITOR

What I remember most about my mother is that she was a wonderful gardener. She had what we call a “green thumb.” Whatever she put in the ground, it grew and bloomed. I think I have her passion in my genes. Together with my love for painting and the out-of-doors, there is always my garden, which takes a lot of my time. I love to plant and create my own little wilderness. Now my yard is a mixture of cultivated and wild flowers, and it’s fascinating to see them compete for light and space. It became a habitat where songbirds and other creatures feel at home.

Every spring, all the nest boxes are occupied. The nuthatch is one of our guests every year. My collection of old terra cotta jars, almost overgrown by ground-covering plants, is his favorite perch before he starts his acrobatic activity on a big pine close by.

At least once in my career, I had to paint this. It is a subject full of poetry. It suits my romantic character. My rhododendrons made a perfect background, and the little nuthatch is number one on my list of favorite backyard birds. It’s one of those perfect little wonders of creation.

The challenge in my work is texture, so I used this opportunity to introduce in this painting one of my many passions: terra cotta jars. Whenever I see them, I cannot resist buying them. Made with clay, water and fire, they are a nice organic creation of man from a time when life was still peaceful on a human scale.

— Carl Brenders