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  • Writer's pictureDarya

In the Garden: Digging into the Dirt to Find the Details

As a child, I lived in a urban and heavily polluted city. My family had no car, no computers, and no couch. In our two bedroom apartment we watched TV from a mattress mounted on a metal frame - the TV and mattress were the only two pieces of furniture in the room. Twice a week, the power would go out in our city block, so my mom and I would climb 10 flights of stairs to get to our apartment after school.

But if you were to have asked me whether I had wealth, I would have told you about the buckets and buckets of strawberries that my grandparents and I picked on their plot of land outside the city. Their "Dacha" was the most densely cultivated and thoroughly loved ground in all the world - a 1,000sq foot section of it dedicated exclusively to growing strawberries. So when strawberry season came, we had buckets of them.

Purple and mauve ripe grapes hanging down the vine with a summer landscape and yellowing leaves in the background | Oil Pastel Painting drawn in Plein Aire from the In The Garden collection by Daryas Art

Following the strawberry season, we would pick rhubarb, currants, cherries, pears, apricots and plums. The patch of lily of the valley flowers filled the densely packed garden with a freshness and a sweetness and we would pick armfuls of flowers. Finally, towards the fall, the gazebo over the outdoor dining table at the Dacha would overgrow with grapes and they would hang down from the trellises right over us as we ate.

In this fruitful and abundant paradise, my love of gardens, gardening, and digging into the dirt was seeded.

"Grapes Ripening in the Garden"

Oil Pastels on Paper

A bright red sweet pepper hanging between vivid green foliage | Oil Pastel Painting drawn in Plein Aire from the In The Garden collection by Daryas Art

When my grandparents moved to the United States, they converted the backyard into a bountiful garden, an old reminder of the Dacha of my childhood. Though retired and past their 70s, my grandparents love to contribute and be productive. They do this by producing an abundance of food that they share with the whole family and all the neighbors.

In their garden, I continued to find a sense of wonder. As I would move away leaves, I would find new fruits and vegetables hiding. In 2016 I started the "In the Garden" collection of oil pastel drawings of garden wonders drawn plein aire and from references.

"Peppers in the Garden"

Oil Pastels on Paper

"In the Garden" prints are my most popular art prints to be sold through Fine Art America and are commonly bought as gifts for garden art enthusiasts.
Grapes ripening on the vine with a summer scene in the background printed on a canvas tote bag. A great gift for gardeners.

The prints make for great wall art and can be purchased framed or canvas style.

My favorite for this collection are the tote bags. I think they make a great grocery bag or even a gift bag for items like wine or garden supplies. Nothing speaks love of gardens as garden art by an avid gardener!



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