Sunday, December 8, 2013

Plants to paints

Well a couple of weeks ago I wrote about criticism and mentioned that I was being 'juried' for the local Desert Arts Centre. Well I'm highly relieved to discover that I have been juried in along with 13 others from 30 applicants. I feel thrilled that the adjudicators liked my paintings. So I am now officially a 'hanging member' which means that I can submit paintings for each show in the gallery and sell my work. I even have my own bin at the side with unframed pictures. Whether anyone will buy is another matter! Opening night at the gallery was fun - I was on the bar - good place to meet people - everybody goes to a free bar, even if it was 'two buck chuck' (very cheap wine for those from the UK!)

Hope you like the T-shirt - called 'the artist within' and bought at the Tate Modern in London

It all seems quite strange and exciting making a 'career change' late in life. As a horticulturalist, managing a large estate, my daily work evolved around getting the work done, purchasing whatever was needed, balancing the budget, attending meetings, planning for events and designing new landscapes. Relatively little of my time was spent on plantsmanship and in latter years, virtually none was hands-on time.  I once objected to my boss regarding some issue and was told that I was a manager not just a horticulturalist! After retirement, I spent much of my time writing about plants and gardens and enjoyed the few glorious years working on the nine books I now have published. I guess some are out of print or remaindered - I never made the best sellers list! But the writing dried up - apparently gardeners aren't buying books anymore!

Now here I am in my mid sixties with a new interest, - once again plants and flowers but this time painting. To my astonishment I seem to be getting some success and it seemed strange to be making plans, framing pictures for the gallery, packaging mounted paintings and printing greeting cards, all for sale.  And with hesitation I even printed some new business cards - Ian Cooke - artist!


  1. Well done Ian! Perhaps next year some of your work will be hanging on galleries for sale in the Uk too.

  2. Love your pictures, Ian - Well done!
    If it's any consolation (and I doubt it is) I''m attempting to continue your canna collecting legacy. Hope you don't mind? Strictly only VIRUS-FREE!
    Even if no one else is interested in gardening books now, you might like to know that your Canna book has been my bible since the day it was published. It goes with me everywhere! Thank you for that (to date), definitive work.
    Best wishes from a mild and sunny (yes, really!) UK.
    Cheers for now,
    Clive Parker.

  3. Clive - good luck to you! I still have an affection for cannas and love to see then healthy and well grown.I'm pleased the book is useful! Cannas appear here in the garden centres in California but sadly often virused.