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Monday, May 17, 2010

Azaleas

Azaleas
Oil on canvas, 16x20
Call me at 860-442-0246 or email me
if you are interested in buying this painting

Yesterday, on my birthday, I went to paint in the Kinney Azalea Gardens, in Kingston, R.I., near the University of Rhode Island.

This five-acre space is filled with azaleas, rhododendrons, pathways, beautiful stonework, lawns and benches and twisty handmade fences. The garden was started by Lorenzo Kinney in the 1920s. Kinney's father was the first professor of botany at URI.

Dr. Susan Gordon, who manages the garden and worked with Kinney for years until his death in 1994, told me that he opened the gardens to the public in 1956. He didn't really have a plan, she said. He just kept taking the next step.

The azaleas are a little early this year (because of all the rain last year, Gordon said, and because of the warm winter), but the rhododendrons are just coming out. If you live in New England, this is a marvelous day trip. It's a great place to paint, for sure, and is also just a cool place to visit. And you can buy azaleas and rhododendrons there, too.



Gordon (and I am assuming here that she is, indeed, the woman I spoke with at length while I was painting) is an interesting person. She's probably in her mid-50s. She is blonde, rail-thin, strong. And she cares for two three-legged dogs, who accompany her in the garden. The younger (12) can get around fine. The older one (15) who could get around last year has gone downhill. She has a degenerative spine disease, and spends her days on a raised bed in the shade near Dr. Gordon. 


"I'm not throwing her away yet," Gordon said. The dog was sleeping on the clearly comfy bed. There was a bowl of water by her side, and a sign explaining that she is paralyzed, but loves to be petted, as long as she sees you coming. 


It takes a special person to adopt a three-legged dog, and to tend to one who has such dire trouble. But Gordon and the dogs seemed happy, and made me think again about love and its healing powers. 




1 comment:

carrie said...

Happy (belated) birthday! The Azalea paintings are beautiful.

- (the other) Carrie J