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Art in Nature Show Opens to Triumphant Reception: Discover Art Ecstasy in Garden State And on the Web! Shop Now.

Angels That You Need, Zeet Peabody

What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2015 than to visit the Art in Nature show at the AJ Dillion Gallery?
The month-long exhibition of art inspired by Nature is a glorious way to mark the significant
nexus of art and the natural world.  From the pretty beauty of botanical
art and illustration to the powerful paintings of storm fury to the edibles of
Ecuador by
Bek Millhouse, the glamour of the Manolo Valdes at NYBG rendered by photographer James Murray  or the mysterious beauty of Kokedama garden art created by EunYoung,
Silver Flower
— or fashion by Marissa Erickson Fashion or dreamy tree paintings by Jessica Wohlers — and happy botanical art as soon by a Beatrix Potter Zeet Peabody, along
with so many others including a Picasso-like Ed
Fendley Profiles | Facebook
, Leona
spectacular art, Michelle
, and Mike Quon and his collages along with the powerful paintings of Dawn DiCicco

And I adore the performance art of Chanel Sampson Plant Killer  

I wanted the visitors and guests to be enchanted from the first moment they got to the Gallery. 
I sketched out my “Into the Woods” dream concept design.  

Then, working with Jessie Wohlers, artist and stylist (among her many talents) – we visited the floral district in Gotham to secure our materials.  All the elements soon came together: bold wisteria vines, twinkling lights, glass orbs to hang on the trees filled with lights, colorful butterflies, silk ombre shaded gauzy material that would serve as the grass, and lots and lots of pink rose petals to scatter on the “grass.”  We also got some plants and big sea shells – the Gallery is just a block in from the bay, after all — yet another nod to Nature.

We got the vellum paper for Jessie to paint up the ethereal tree branches – to be suspended or floating fro the wisteria tree branches.  Those branches were molded in shape by Jessie’s body force!  Talk about girl power!  

Soon, after a bit of clean up

Jessie, prepping for the Art in Nature window displays

the artful pieces of the window display and the art on the walls was coming together.  

EunYoung & her popular Kokedama art

With her Kokedama Moss Art in tow from New York, EunYoung created her moss composition. Jessie was getting flirty with the charcoal and vellum to make the window art complete.

Fashion Art, Marissa Erickson

Photographic art3 – James Murray’s photography & as seen in Manolo Valdes book of NYBG sculpture in the Garden 
Meanwhile, I was doing a bit of everything and still trying to get all the art in — (it’s a little like herding cats…)  

Jessie Wohlers putting the finishing touches on her Art in Nature submission

I also wanted to get our elected officials in the loop – and did manage to secure congratulatory letters from Congressman Frank Pallone and Fair Haven Councilwoman Aimee Humphreys – which Frank read at the opening reception and have since proudly posted on the wall.  Thank you!

Emily and Frank were seemingly everywhere, getting bios up on the site, getting the art prices and names suitable for hanging. 

Frank: pre-show hanging art

Music set up time 

The day of the opening was beautiful.  But there was still much to do.  We weren’t nervous per se about attendance at the gala reception; at the same time, one couldn’t ignore it was Passover and the day before Easter.  The party plans proceeded unabated.
I worked up till 30 minutes before opening!  
My brother, the Grammy-Nominated musician, James Popik and one of his most popular chanteuse, Jen Starr, were already setting up for their jazzy-song filled music when I had to race home to get ready.

By the time I returned, the Gallery was glittering.  And not just from the Into the Woods display windows!  There were sooo many people milling about, enjoying the wine and cheese, each other on a lovely spring evening — and most of all: the Art. The glorious, compelling, provocative art — all of it inspired by nature.  

One of my favorite references with regard to art is that of the Stendhal Syndrome. This “condition” is said to characterize viewers who experience a dizzy and rapid heart beat when particularly beautiful or large amount of art is seen in a single place.  Coined in Florence, Italy by the French author Stendhal (why does all that sound so matter-of-course?!) When he visited the Basilica of Santa Croce, where Niccolò Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and Galileo Galilei are buried, he saw Giotto‘s frescoes for the first time and was overcome with emotion. He wrote:
I was in a sort of ecstasy, from the idea of being in Florence, close to the great men whose tombs I had seen. Absorbed in the contemplation of sublime beauty… I reached the point where one encounters celestial sensations… Everything spoke so vividly to my soul. Ah, if I could only forget. I had palpitations of the heart, what in Berlin they call ‘nerves.’ Life was drained from me. I walked with the fear of falling.
See how art — especially art of immense beauty in the natural world – can affect us?

Nature touches each of us in her own way — and the artist’s eye sees things and interprets the natural world in such beguiling and powerful vision.  
The artists were there, keen for the opportunity to share their spirit with the eager and interested guests.  After all, artists usually work solo most of the time — so all this party exuberance is most welcome.

Artist, Zeet Peabody, Fan, & his charming art

Artist, Kira Yustak
Photography artist, Rachel Watkinson

As owner of AJ Dillon Gallery, Frank welcomed the guests and read the electeds letter of congratulations.  I sincerely thanked Frank, Emily, my Mother, husband Bill, my extended family in attendance — and especially the artists.  

Captured on video by my dear friend, Wendy, here are my opening-reception remarks.

The evening was a success. The AJ Dillon Gallery is THE place to be. 

Artist Barbra (Love the Flower!) & AH Councilman, Peter Doyle

Aimee & Michael Humphreys

James & Jen, artful musicians perform at Art in Nature reception 

When finally, I had to break away after the event — even though there were plenty of folks still browsing the gallery — as my guests had headed up to the Wine Bar next door.  But not before tiptoeing out into the display cases to adjust a twinkling light!

Me, Jim/musician & brother, Mother

A big thank you to everyone who helped make the event one for the record books.  To the Dillon Gallery family, artist Michelle Lombard who – like a trooper — volunteered to take the the Art in Nature postcards to Sickles Market so their bazillions of customers could learn about the exhibit.  No stranger to all things natural, organic, artful, and community-oriented, Sickles is a go-to place for local food and garden plants.  Tori Sickles was kind enough to allow us to bring over the cards.  Jenny from First Avenue Florist allowed me to run in and whisk away a potted plant in time for the opening party.  What can I say?  It takes a village.

Budding Botanists

And speaking of community support, our new best friend is Laurie Brekke.  How my garden path never crossed this GoSprouts dynamo I’ll never know. (Plus now, all the “You’ve been flocked” Pink Flamingo mystery is revealed!)  
Laurie helped me reach the area’s parents to tell them about the Saturday “Budding Botanist” potting up program at the Gallery.  At the Free, hands-on, fun session, I show the children how to pot up some radish seeds — just in time for a swell Mother’s Day gift.  We give them the soil, seeds, and Garden Pendant pots, I designed and created.  The kids love it.  

Frank has a table and little kid-sized chairs all set for them. 

And I brought some kid-sized tools, too.
Thanks Laurie.  And it’s fun Tweeting from my @GardenGlamour with Laurie, er, @PussBoots

The Gallery

One of the best services the AJ Dillon Gallery can now offer its artists is the ability to reach a vast, unlimited audience.  It wasn’t easy to get the technology to cooperate – but it is “not the boss of us” – so together, Emily and I had our way with the “Shop Now” feature on the AJ Dillon Facebook page and on the site under the AJ Dillon Web Store tab  While not every piece is in the store yet — we’re getting there…

I so strongly support artists and their vision and craft.  Every artist and every piece of work has a story… I think those stories amplify their work.  Who doesn’t love to walk around a gallery or museum or your home and not only describe the beauty of the art there, but also how it was the artist toiled at making the piece.  The art can look infinitely different, always.  It’s what make the art enduring — endlessly fascinating, and compelling.  An artist cannot help expressing themselves.  They’ll go without food (the starving artist label comes from truth), defy all odds to create – to work and fuel the fire within…

The fact that we can work with them to identify a greater audience who can discover their work is the best reward.  
Please visit the AJ Dillon Web Store. Share with your friends and family.  Support the arts.  And buy art.  You deserve it.

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"Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 I adore plants. Plants are my muse ~ they are my paramour… I’m a garden artist; a nature lover, & horticulturist. I’m an author & writer. My passion for culture & beauty, along with my trait curiosity, brings you an authentic celebration of life. I’m a storyteller ~ weaving the artful gifts of horticulture, garden design, tablescape decor, floral design, cocktail culture, garden-to-glass recipes & their glamorous garnishes, homegrown edibles, food & drink; & cooking, to bring you my flair & what I’ve been told is an avid elan ~ as well as the stories from those who inspire me ~ to pursue an elegant, enduring, & joyful, entertaining lifestyle. It’s an honor & a privilege to do what you love.

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