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serenity in the garden

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‘Om’ in the Garden

January 25, 2017

Om symbol in garden – Jan Johnsen

We need to balance the pace and intensity of modern life
with periods of what poet May Sarton
has called “open time,
with no obligations except toward the inner world
and what is going on there.”

~ Thomas Moore

So how to touch the inner world in a garden?..

Abstract painting

I suggest chanting ‘OM.’ (really it is ‘AUM’), long and sustained, several times…“Om” is the oldest and most widely known one-syllable mantra or chant. It is said very, very slowly.

Mantras are believed to contain a vibrational power that can lift us to higher states.

Scientists recently discovered that rhythmic recitations of a mantra can slow breathing and regulate heart rhythms, this in turn oxygenates the blood, lowers blood pressure and induces a feeling of calmness and well-being.

The Sanskrit symbol above represents “OM”. It does not say ’30’ as some might assume.

The Om symbol (in photo above) consists of three letters, “a,” “u,” and “m,” and includes an after-sound of silence:

• The “a” (pronounced “ah,” the upper curve) represents our waking state.

• The “u” (pronounced “ooh,” the long, lower curve) is the dreaming state.

• The “m” (the curve issuing from the center) is the dreamless state of deep sleep.

The after-sound is represented by the dot at the top…

Garden Oms (smile)


Silently repeating a mantra does not produce the same effects as reciting them out loud.

You must chant OM. out loud…slowly. and remember the ‘dot’ or after-sound silence.

Lawai International Center, Kauai – shrines

If repeating ‘om’ is not your thing then try this during your ‘open time’:

Listen – to the sounds around you.

Feel – the plants or the ground under your feet or the sun on your face.

See – what is around you. enjoy the colors.

Smell – what does your environment smell like?

At first, you’ll find your mind wandering away frequently but this exercise is calming and pleasant, a relaxing break.

Blog

The Enchantment of a Curved Garden Walk or Wall

December 27, 2016

Curved Walk – Jan Johnsen


The line of a garden walk can be an integral part of the overall composition rather just a simple linkage. And the layout of a garden wall can be something more than a physical barrier.

For example, ancient Chinese garden designers used curving perimeter walls to enclose their revered gardens. Osvald Siren described the winding grace of a Chinese garden wall in his book, ‘Gardens of China’:


“They seldom follow straight lines, and as a rule are not broken in sharp angles; they rather sweep in wide curves, ascending and descending according to the formation of the ground and thus often have the appearance of being elastic or modeled rather than built up.”

The elasticity of a curve lends a mysterious air to Chinese gardens.

Andy Goldsworthy, the great land art artist, did this with a stone wall at Storm King Mountain Sculpture center.

You can also attract people’s interest by laying out a walkway in a strong, playful line. Here I laid out an S-shaped steppingstone walk rather than a straightforward direct walk. Of course, this is not for carrying groceries to the house but rather, is a meandering garden path.

The curved walk adds a lyrical quality to the scene and makes a garden more enticing. Why not try something like this in your garden?

Art in the Garden, Blog, Musings

Trompe l’oeil for 21st Century Landscapes

January 21, 2015
Michael Krondl – waterworks in Katonah, NY

One day in 2007 I was driving along a road in my area when I saw a long wall of falling water that wasn’t there before. The water was gushing over the wall but I saw no evidence of any water beyond that . Hmmm…..

Photo by Jan Johnsen

I had to stop the car and take a picture. Then I had to walk up there and see what was going on….

It was an art installation using photo-derived imagery of a waterfall.

A digital print on vinyl  – trompe l’oeil for the 21st century!

The artist is the talented and inventive Michael Krondl.

The 200-foot long waterfall called ‘Rising Water/Falling Water’ was in front of the Katonah Museum of Art.

I was struck by this vinyl wall of water..I had to see how he attached it to the existing wall…ah yes, grommets!

photo by Jan Johnsen

The possibilities of this trompe l’oeil in a landscape or public setting are vast-

Walls of water on subway platforms, sides of buildings, billboards, gas stations…

why not? As they say, views of nature help us relax. Serenity in the Garden goes viral…..

Mr. Krondl’s other projects include ‘Waterwalk’ he did for the Center for Contemporary Art in Prague. It was created to commemorate the anniversary of flooding that had devastated Prague in 2002 .

Mr Krondl explains on his website that he made the digital print on vinyl in 2003,by taking a series of photographs of the nearby river.

He digitally “seamed“ these together to make one large image and this was printed by a commercial billboard printer. It was then installed on the floor of the Palmovka Synagogue, a spot heavily affected by the floods. People walking on the surface of the ‘water’ felt they were literally afloat.

Someday I will place a trompe l’oeil ‘water wall’ somewhere…..or this! (look carefully):