I have always been drawn to abstract expressionism, both artistically and philosophically. Art critic Harold Rosenburg described the genre in terms of its action, "At a certain moment the canvas began to appear to one American painter after another as an arena in which to act. What was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event." In the same way, I am drawn to planting design which is muscular and gestural. It speaks to the viewer at an emotional and spiritual level, and arranges plants in an ecologically sympathetic geometry. Here, I've set Joan Mitchell's After April is set next to a Piet Oudolf composition:
Helen Frankenthaler once said, "A really good picture looks as if it's happened at once. It's an immediate image. For my own work, when a picture looks labored and overworked, and you can read in it. And I usually throw these out, though I think very often it takes ten of those over-labored efforts to produce one really beautiful wrist motion that is synchronized with your head and heart, and you have it, and therefore it looks as if it were born in a minute."
So in looking at the paintings I love, it becomes increasingly clear: the only planting worth doing is big, bold, and gestural. Strive for expansive, moody, luminous design. And remember that best naturalist design is first humanist.