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Life in dirt: New Carnation art show explores the simple and complex in local farms | Photo gallery
A day on the farm can be an inspiration, and a life on the farm, even more so. It has been for painter Jean Bradbury a former Valley artist who spent the past two years painting Valley farms from a perspective closer to the ground.
"I wanted to see how it felt to surround myself in an environment that is completely gentle and nurturing," Bradbury wrote in an e-mail. "I do not paint man made things like buildings and cars. The natural shapes and complexities of plants and animals are so much richer in design than anything people can create."
Farming is also important to Lee Grumman, owner of Miller's Arts in Carnation -- "I'm the type of person who spends every moment in the soil," she says—so she was thrilled when Bradbury asked her about hosting a show of her work at Miller's Arts, 4597 Tolt Ave, Carnation.
The show, 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, combines two of Grumman's dearest passions.
"I'm very happy to have art and farm combined," she said.
The show will also feature the "Urban Farm Handbook," by author Annette Cottrell, who will be available to sign copies of the book. Her book, which won the 2011 Jeff Fairhall Local Food Hero Award from Seattle's Eat Local Now, is billed as "city-slicker resources for growing, raising, sourcing, trading and preparing what you eat."
Food is what connects the elements of the show, including the host, who grew herbs at a Carnation greenhouse when she came to the area.
"I just think being outside, growing things is soulful," she said.
Bradbury, who created the paintings with the help of a 4Culture grant she received in 2011, concurs.
"Society has separated itself from food production so that we do not understand what we are eating," she wrote. "If people had to butcher their own meat, I believe we would be more thoughtful about our choices. If we could see our vegetables growing and appreciate the life in the soil that ultimately gives us life we would all feel more connected….The next time time you eat a pizza, maybe you will picture the wheat field and the tomato plant and all the other plants and even animals that you are eating - how complex and how magical that is."
Learn more at www.jeanbradbury.com, http://urbanfarmhandbook.com, or on the Miller's Facebook page.
Painter Jean Bradbury normally doesn't paint en plein air (outdoors) but took her paints to local organic farms to capture the feel for images, like this one of flowering raddichio at Oxbow Farm, which she finished later in her studio.
A scene from Full Circle Farm in Carnation.
A field from Local Roots Farm near Duvall.