Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Morris Graves, His Houses ~ His Gardens

I remember studying Morris Graves' work in art history while I was an undergraduate art student.  There were paintings of birds looking sad, sick or disturbed.  The flowers looked still and lonely.  But those are just my memories.  I have since seen much more of his work, including paintings, drawings and sculpture in museums and books.

He was a reclusive private man who designed or restored his own fascinating homes in several different states in the US, as well as one near Dublin Ireland.  A book about his homes and gardens was published in 2013, Morris Graves, His Houses ~ His Gardens, author Richard Svare.

On the dust jacket overleaf:

MORRIS GRAVES (1910-2001), considered one of the most important Modern Masters in 20th century American Art, was a leading founder of Northwest Mystic Art, along with Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, and Guy Anderson.  After a meteoric rise to fame in the early 1950s, Graves retreated into seclusion, sustained by the solitude of his gardens.  Here he continued to paint his visionary world of iconic birds and flowers imbued with an ineffable light, shaped from his personal philosophy and studies of Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and Tantric Hinduism.

Throughout his life, Graves assiduously guarded his privacy.  Along with historical photographs, Richard Svare offers a remarkable and rare glimpse of those places that nurtured and sustained Graves's creative genius.

In the mid 2000's I assisted in an artist retreat which was held at the former home of Morris Graves in Washington State.  This home, Graves named Careladen, stood vacant for several years before being purchased and restored by its current owners.  When I spent the retreat weekend at the estate, the secluded grounds and home were once again alive with serene beauty.  I took several photos over the course of the weekend and include some of them in this post.

Above:  Early photo taken at Careladen.  Author Richard Svare seated in the center, Morris Graves seated on the right (photographer unknown).  Below:  Photo of the same patio location at the beginning of the artists' retreat in which I assisted Anna Rhodes (An Artists' Retreat with Anna Rhodes).



Below:  Photos of the swimming pool and hot tub.  The fountain and accompanying wall tableau were designed and crafted by Northwest sculptor George Tsutakawa.  An interesting article about one of his fountains can be seen here.

Above:  Toni Youngblood - Edge of Pond, Watercolor painting of the lily pond at Careladen - 

Read more about Morris Graves:

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