Culinary Herbs

From the 2014 exhibition, ‘Meditations on a Cook’s Garden’.
A discovery of edible delights right in your back yard.
Featuring herbs and edible flowers, these paintings and drawings are influenced by botanical art, meditation, chinese calligraphic brush painting and the artist’s kitchen garden. As a keen cook, Fiona is enthusiastic about good food, possibly obsessed with food plants and on a delightful journey of discovery of edible flowers and “weeds”. Connecting mindfulness, an appreciation of nature, eating well and starting where you are in your own garden, come and share the enthusiasm for edible plants embodied in this exhibition.

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Since moving into my own house, I have finally been able to plant in the ground all the herbs and food plants I have been dragging around rental after rental for the past several years. This has been an exciting time – finally being able to have a permanent herb and vegetable garden – and has been the energy behind this exhibition. For me, the plants in this exhibition are a mix of what I grow already and a wish list of what I’d like to expand to be growing in the future.

My hope is that this exhibition and the accompanying talks might inspire you to just start wherever you are with whatever you’ve got (no excuses!) and begin growing a few things of your own, or to grow a few more, or experiment more with what you already have; to connect with nature a little more via that eating thing we do several times a day.

Caring for food plants naturally encourages a careful watchfulness over them and propels you to learn about the differences between them. From growing a few edibles you develop an awareness of the other creatures sharing your patch of the world, the changing of the seasons, the health of the soil. You begin to pay attention to where your food comes from, what it does for you, the health of the environment those plants were in. Ultimately, gardening leads to a deepening in understanding of our connection with nature and caring more about what happens to it, and maybe, what you can do for a healthy thriving environment.

This paying attention, also called mindfullness, and connection with nature is at the heart of how I create my artworks. Each piece is done as a meditation in itself. Where some people chant mantras to meditate or focus on a mandala or try to empty their mind, I draw. The process of drawing or painting is the meditation. And the resulting artwork exudes this meditative quality that created it.