Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thoughts, a few days before Christmas, 2010

Tis a few days before the Christmas holiday and I have just a few thoughts and observations to share with you, my friends and followers of this blog. Life it seems is always changing and sometimes things that seemed bad turn out to be good in the long run. I guess that's the mystery of life and has reminded me to always keep my eyes open and expect that there will always be a surprise just around the corner. Many of us travel our paths, meet frustration and come to a point of giving up. It's a common theme in my age group. What always seems to happen though is that people when pushed to that point always find a state of grace. They transform themselves and adapt beautifully and come out stronger and better for the experience.

"Well past our prime"
Oil on canvas, 12" X 12"
C. Scogins © 2010

I could go into several stories about that, but I'm sure you can come up with your own. The one I'd like to share though is very close to home. Like many of us, I've struggled with the fact that I'm running out of time. I'm 55 and look at all that I've done in my life which in many ways has been significant. In others though they seem small and not very important to me these days. I suppose I've let them go and don't define myself by them anymore. I've cast off most of the worries I carried for years and seem to be in one of the best places in my life right now. These have been a hard 10 years of my life and there have been tragic disappointments as well as some surprisingly sweet and tender triumphs. Most disappointing is that I've let myself get fat. Considering that I was an ultra-athlete, driven, competitive and very conscious of my body that has been a big blow to my ego. I suppose I found food to be an enjoyable distraction from my worries and let myself enjoy it a little too much.

What I've found though as I've watched my muscles shift ever southward toward my equator is that I've found a different view of my life. I've mellowed a lot and become somewhat more relaxed about who I am. I hate to say it but I have kind of an attitude about it. If you don't like me because of my shape, then so be it, move on! I've been in the dating world for the past two years and I have to admit it does seem to hold me back with the type of women I tend to be attracted to. I'm beginning to see though that it's more their problem than mine and in a way if they are basing my value on that basis, than it wouldn't have lasted anyway. Sure we all want to be found attractive but what have you got after all that beautiful flesh fades and wrinkles. In the end, you only have who you are, happy, sad, miserable, discontented or what ever. People tend to latch on to certain themes in their lives and they play them out to the end. So in my typical fashion I've come up with a visual response to these thoughts. I titled it "Well past our prime". It's a 12" X 12" alla-prima painting of two pieces of fruit. Each mottled and on the verge of spoiling.

I see the Pear as myself or men in general. You don't think of pears as being particularly sweet and in fact when they seem to look their best, have very little flavor. As they age and get a lot of spots and bruises on them though they sweeten and are the most flavorful just before they totally spoil.

Apples on the other hand seem to represent the women I've known in my life. Colorful and beautiful when fresh and younger but they don't get their sweetness till they come of child bearing years. Once past them they tend to loose the sweetness but in many ways become more interesting and complex. Maybe even a bit easier to have in a guys life as well.
Only time will tell!

So, here is to wishing everyone a very happy holiday and the best for this coming year! I'll be trying to keep the eggnog to a minimum this year, don't let that stop you though!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beginning of December, Goodby 2010

Ok, the year has flown by and with no regard to anyone's feelings it just keeps on jetting by.
There are so many of you I've missed seeing this year and I'm sad for not being able to spend a little precious time with you catching up and sharing tales of painting, life and the making of art in what ever form you choose to pursue. I do know that most of us have had worries, doubts and even a little economic struggle this year, so I don't in anyway want to make light of those facts we all endure. The fact is though that for many of us we have had doors open and opportunities present themselves that were not there in previous years. In many ways I've seen people near and dear to me make some pretty amazing changes in their lives, travel to far off places and take jobs in distant lands. The world, my dears seems to keep moving in-spite of our wishes to keep thing much the same. This seems to be much the same with me and there is a feeling of restlessness stirring within me. I don't claim any psychic abilities but native people seem to have this sense when big changes are on the horizon and I've had that in my bones for the last few weeks. Not sure yet what is coming our way but I'll be happy to share as time moves forward.

Currently though, I've been up to my usual tricks and spending as much time as possible focused on painting and playing in the mud. Yesterday was the opening of the Atlanta Artists Centers 6th Annual Plein-air Exhibition at the Buckhead Library. This is the 4th year I've participated and as always enjoy the event. It will be up till January 4th, so go by and check out some of the work.
I was one of the guest speakers at the event and penned some of my thoughts on this thing we call "plein-air". If you'll be so kind to indulge me I'll share it with you in this blog. I'd like to say thank you to all my friends and students who showed up and enjoyed the food, art and socializing. I do very much appreciate your support. PS. I'm sorry for the false advertising, I thought they were serving wine, my mistake, and I was so looking forward to a glass myself! So without further delay, I'm going to post some of the images of the art in the show and yes even my attempt at verse!

Poster promoting the show and featuring work from the participating artists.

Written for a presentation at the Atlanta Artists Centers 6th annual plein-air exhibit
held at the Buckhead Library, December 4th 2010

Why I Paint Outdoors!

Why I paint outdoors
is really not so hard to see
all one has to do is
look back in history
for many a great artist
stood out in mother natures amenities
and each of them has left
their mark upon our memories.

When I feel that old and ancient stir
to seek out a source of inspiration
whether in the mountains
or by the sea
the sunlight that glimmers
under a canopy
in dappled patterns like the light
I'll lay down painted shapes
to copy natures lessons with envy
for she is the master of harmony.

So if you wish to seek me out
look in less traveled places
I'll be there in hopes of sharing
the beauty, color and rhythms
of dancing trees and waving fields
what my eyes have had the privilege
to experience with fascination
lending my skills not so much in words
but in ways more painterly.

By: C. S. Scogins

"Sculpture in the Waterfall"
Painted at the 2010 Artful Garden Tour,
a benefit for the High Museum of Art, sponsored by ArtPartners
my painting shows a bronze sculpture by Basil Watson in the waterfall in Marty Gillan's garden at the event. I was quite pleased with this effort at 12 X 18 inches which is large for plein-air works.

"All Aglow" painted 2010
I painted this over several months on location in College Park. I had driven by this house the past few years and was always fascinated by it though I couldn't get a good look at it from the road. It's a large craftsman built in 1886 by Margret Mitchel's sister as the story goes.
It's constructed of stone walls with huge porches and a carriage drive that wraps around the house. I always feel good being there and enjoyed meeting Thom the owner and resident. To date, I feel it's one of my best works ever. It's good when you get a few of those in life!

"Falling from Heaven"
This little still life painted Plein-air came to be after finding this little bird whom had flown into the window. I found her laying in the leaves and it struck me that everything in the heavens fall to earth eventually. A somewhat bitter sweet theme that makes one appreciate the fleeting time we have in life!

"Guardian of Allene"
Painted 2010, just down the street from my loft stands this enormous Oak tree which I've looked at so many times passing it by day to day. It sits on the line between the warehouse district I live in and Adair Park, along the Beltline path.

"Painting in the Garden"
Painted at the 2007 Artful Garden Tour,
a benefit for the High Museum of Art, sponsored by ArtPartners
my painting shows Susan Knight Smith painting at the event.

"Cranes in the Koi Pond"
Painted at the 2007 Artful Garden Tour,
a benefit for the High Museum of Art,
sponsored by ArtPartners

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Update, As Per Your Request, thanks!

Hi Everyone,

Yes I'm finally going to do an update on this page. I'm sorry for letting it go so long between postings but one does have to live life, so we have something to comment on. If I gave you a minute by minute update, we'd be on twitter! Personally, I like catching up with my friends and hearing about their adventures, trials and triumphs in life occasionally. People can only do that so often though or else it seems like your married and you might as well move in together. I see this as an opportunity to share a cup of coffee, listen to some yarns, experiences and general BS. It's a tradition down here in the South to tell tales and stories and to make them somewhat larger than life or at least have some small pearl of wisdom that your grandfather or grandmother would have shared with you. This blog is really about living life creatively, filling your days with the making and enjoyment of art and passing along those thoughts and stories we all come across while traveling this creative path. I hope you enjoy my tales and I'd hope that I'd get to hear from you, share a cup of coffee and pass some time getting to know each other. I suppose I've not heard much back from many of you and sometimes I get the notion that no one is reading this. I suppose that's not the case as several of you have asked when the next installment was going to be posted. Thanks for that, the encouragement is a big help!

So what's been up with me? Well a lot really! In the last few days I've been at a great little event at the Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw GA. These are a well kept secret that I'd personally like to let out of the bag. The gardens have only been open to the public a couple of years. The gardens them selves have been around much longer and are a fully mature garden with some spectacular sights and sculptural art work. I'd encourage you to check them out and they are fairly close on Pine Mountain Road in Kennesaw GA. The event was a plein-air paint out and many talented artists and good friends attended. There was some fabulous artwork made there and we had a small show and sale afterward. There were seven prizes given and the event came out as a wonderful experience for me. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and if you get a chance be sure to check this place out!

What you see are the 5 paintings I completed in 2 days. Hope you enjoy them!

This was the first of the 5 painting I did during the two day event. It's of the Bonsai garden and nursery. This is also the painting that picked up an award from the judge, Bill Davidson. I especially like the fact that Bill gave his time to tell people why he picked certain paintings and the things that worked with each. It's been a while since I've been on the side of receiving a critique and it felt good to hear.

This is the 2nd of 5 paintings looking at the south side of the house on the property. It's an old house with lot's of brick, high ceilings and a bit of that Victorian charm.

This is the 3rd of 5 paintings and was my last painting of the first day. By this time I was tired and ready to pack it in. The light was fabulous though by this time of day and I couldn't walk away. This sculpture seems to be the image the garden uses most to identify themselves with.
I personally don't think much of the sculpture as it reminds me of a Chinese or Japanese letter form or I suppose it could be a dog exhibiting the play stance! For me it was all about the light, shadows and trees which were electric!

After a nights sleep I picked up with this painting of the greenhouse and a huge oak tree at the edge of the main lawn. I had a time limit though as I had a date with my next painting! This piece was 4 of 5 total.

This is the painting I came to paint after looking around the weekend before to scout locations. I kept my motivation level high by saving this for my last. When I saw this tree the canopy was lit up and bright yellow. The tree shape reminded me of the character Medusa in Jason and the Argonauts. That's what I named it (The Medusa Tree). I really pushed the color on this painting as well. There is a lot of color here and seeing it as a reduced photo is not enough. Click on the image and give it a closer look! Enjoy!!!

So that's the past few days of my life! Hope you get a chance to push a little paint around as well!

Best wishes,

PS. Leave a comment so I know you've been following this page. It helps inspire me to write a bit more!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some new Art, thoughts on creative living and the state of the world around us!

Hi everyone, Yes it's been a little too long since my last entry on this page. No, at this rate I'll never make the "Painting a Day website". So maybe I'll have to set some new goals that may be even bigger and more important to me and my creative spirit. I think (for me) it's time to up the risk and push the envelope a bit. My goal was to produce a lot of work over the past year which in some ways I did and feel successful at that. I've talked a bit about pushing myself, making my work more revealing of my inner self and connecting to the juicy stuff that many of us keep buried deep and safely within us. So maybe it's time to let a bit of that out into the light of day and see what comes up for me, as well as you my audience. I'd ask that you make a comment and leave your thoughts on what your seeing and hearing from this page. They will of course be welcomed and if you should find something that resonates with you, please feel free to share it and this blog with your friends.

Very different I know, this is a collage piece I did as a demo for my mixed media class. I very much enjoyed the imagery I found.

This is another Collage piece I did as a demo for a class. This time all the imagery was created rather than found. I also added some unusual elements just to keep everyone on their toes.

Another collage piece which I felt was very successful and incorporated many different technics to create rich textures and surfaces.

So on to the juicier stuff, visual candy etc. My work for Fulton County has given me an opportunity to explore a media I had only briefly dabbled in during my collage years. Clay and mud for me bring me back to my childhood when I could spend a full day playing in the stuff, make my version of the world and destroy it if I felt like it. There was an unbridled freedom in my youth that I and I suspect many of us have lost the connection to. Lately my art has taken some definite turns in direction I had not intentionally meant to explore. I find myself working more in clay, thinking more in clay and seeing things more in the round than ever before. Depth and weight seem to be areas I seem to fixate on more often. With that being said, on with the show!

This Mug is a seed pod and spiral design I came up with. I kept the colors organic in feel to go with the pattern. The piece is somewhat reminiscent of Arts and Crafts period pottery which is one of my favorite art movements.

This is another very organic feeling piece using a circular and spiral design motif. This pitcher was constructed from slabs of clay and glazed with at least 8 different color glazes.

This double flower vase was constructed using the coil method and is shown at the bisque stage currently. The brown coloration is a chocolate brown slip painted over a white clay body, then white slip is painted on over the brown. The shape as well as the surface decoration take on a rather tribal feeling which I like. I will glaze the piece later in a transparent glaze to finish it but wanted to share it with you in progress.

This is a crazy little remnant bowl was fun to construct out of scrap pieces of clay at the end of the day. It has about 5 different colored glazes on the body.

This is the next evolution of my female figurative series. My intention was to try and capture a fluid sense of motion and though she is very thick in reality, try to make her feel light or almost weightless. I feel that I've got it, so more are due to come later.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks for the Encouragement, My thoughts on Sex and the Constitution!

OK, I've heard back from many of my friends and those that follow this blog and I appreciate the fact that you find what I have to say somewhat humorous and true. I suppose the thing that makes something funny is the fact that it is true and it suddenly dawns on us how stupid it is that we've been putting up with it for most of our lives. That realization can take one down too many paths to even begin to explore here, besides this blog is really about making art and living a creative life. I'd have to start a whole other blog about the silly things I've observed myself and others doing through life.

This was painted on the Artful Garden Tour in May 2010, oil
on panel, sold to Marty Gillian who is the owner of the
home and garden.

For example, let's talk about sex. Sex bar none has gotten me into more trouble than any other act I've personally committed in my life. It suddenly came to me one morning while making bagels standing in the kitchen in my bath robe in front of the toaster why that was. I'm male! No really, that's not an excuse it's just a physiological fact that I'm a male and I have a penis. Logic would follow that if and when I become aroused, the blood flow that normally keeps my brain functional and lucid, now is pooled down in my lower regions therefore cutting off any chance that my brain will be functioning at its normal optimal levels. So as many men do I'm apt to say something totally stupid or inappropriate during the coarse of intercourse. That one gets us every time guys! How many times can you remember lying in bed and saying to your partner how much you enjoyed the fantastic orgasm you just had of which they were the catalyst. Probably none, because all your blood and oxygen were still where? No you rolled over and muttered something akin to this " I wuv you" which is all the speech you could probably muster at the moment. Women on the other hand are a totally different story! They have an orgasm and immediately as sharp as a tack, wanting another and ready to pounce on any opportunity! This is true for the very same reasons as men being in an oxygen deprived stupper, women have a clitoris which is small. Yes it gets erect but they don't have all of their blood trying to hold it up! On top of all of that, if you can't comply to their need for more sex, then they want to talk to you, which you are not capable of at the moment, which is why you let slip those almost indestiquishable words!

That little white flag of surrender has probably undid more empires and laid waste to more civilizations than anything else on the planet except religion. Just for example, Cleopatra and Mark Anthony, Helen of Troy, need I go any further. I don't really have a good idea as to how to solve this because we are just made the way we are. The only thing I could think of is that we need to amend the constitution and reorder it. The first amendment should read something like this:

When in the coarse of physical intercourse no verbal intercourse will have any legal bearing for the next 24 hours due to the impaired judgements that will follow there after. Only after that cooling off period can either party engage in the making of a contract and only written and witnessed contracts will be admissible in a court of law!

If that were the case, our legal system would have a lot more time on it's hands! It was just a thought, now I'm going to draw a naked women! You have yourself a beautiful day!

This little effort is one of my favorites. It was
from life and the mask adds a sense of
mystery to it!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dating Rules of Atlanta Real-estate! The Good, The Bad and The Butt Ugly!

OK, so its almost the end of May and yes the year is dashing past us ever so quickly! So you may be asking where I've been, have I taken ill or injured my fingers or even if I've given up on the quest to blog myself into the memories of modern society here in the deep south (Atlanta GA). Well, no one is that lucky, I'm still here though my focus on updating this page has given way to more romantic pursuits of seeking my true place in life, somewhere where I can safely nestle myself in the comfort one calls home. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my brief time here at the Couer De Allene but it's time to move on and find a place of my own. Luckily there is ample opportunity for those of us with a bit of daring and the patience that would qualify one for sainthood. I've done my homework on this and I'm happy to tell you young urban pioneering types who want to go ITP (inside the perimeter) that there is an abundance of opportunity waiting for those of you who are curious and motivated. Currently the City of Atlanta has over 15 different grant, down payment assistance and urban renewal and redevelopment programs. Basically if your willing to roll up your sleeves and put in some time, effort and a minimal amount of money you'll be able to find a home ever so humble! So I'll tell you my story of dating in this real-estate market and you can figure out where and what you may want to do from there!

I, like any young eager suitor looked around town at a fevered pitch for several months determined to breach the threshold of as many available properties as possible. I wasn't too sure exactly what I wanted at first since there were so many options in the market these days. So I looked at them all, the abused foreclosures, the comely attractive short sales and yes even those high priced Betty's that had been completely renovated and were as polished and new as the day they were first built. I really couldn't afford those high priced uptown gals strutting their stuff in those neighborhoods where taxes were a quarter of my yearly income! So I settled my gaze upon what I considered valuable which was location, location and location with a bit of room to breath and privacy enough to lounge in my bathrobe or less if I were so inclined. What I was looking for was access to transportation, shopping and entertainment of all sorts. I also wanted some room to grow, spread out and expand if needed. What I found were several interesting candidates which I set about wooing and went on a series of extensive dates with before making any suggestion of a proposal. Where I'm at currently is in an awkward place, torn between the affections of two possible long term lovers. Of course only one will finally take my affections, where we will tie the knot at a real-estate closing, pre-nuptials and all. Drum roll, and the final two contestants are!

A lovely older gal built in 1907, large spacious with tons of potential for fixing up, renovating and expanding. She sits in a viable business district only a block from Marta and is smothered in grants from ADA (Atlanta Development Authority). I fell in love with her before I even went inside, with her Arts and Crafts charm, her looming presence above the street and granite stone work. The only down side to her was that she was holding out and playing hard to get. She was a "short sale", promising everything and yet not giving one hint of mutual affection. She would take some time to convince that I was really the one for her. The problem is I wasn't so sure I had the patience or stamina to endure a relationship like this again. She was in the clutches of another, one who held her mortgage (Satan) Bof A. True I have little or no affection for their corporate structure and communications has been abysmal. 3 months later this was to the point where I was ready to move on, done, quit, finished!!! So I went in search of another feeling rejection and frustration! I still longed to make her mine but knew I needed to let go and move forward in my search. Life is too short to spend on unrequited love!

A true Arts and Crafts transitional home built in 1902. She has the Arts and Crafts details with the grand Victorian floor plan. It really was a marriage of the best of both. She has 3 floors and a full basement. The top floor has a large 1200 sq foot space which is ready to go as a studio the day I would move in. She also has 3 working fireplaces and a great double lot with the largest oak tree I've ever seen on the planet and I've seen some big ones. I'd buy this property just to protect that tree which must be at least 300 years old. She's quite grand but needs some TLC.
She also has great potential for generating income and paying for herself, plus she is already on the national historic registry. Something about a church and the founder of the church getting it's start there. Maybe that explains all the extra parking, something not often found in an urban area! Priced well under 100K, need I say more!

I ran into several other very attractive and yes similar properties. Some on lovely streets but needing far more work or for far more money or none of the advantages of location. So I kept looking.

Finally I came across another who made my heart leap. It was by accident that I found myself in a lovely old neighborhood with wide tree lined streets, charming Arts and Crafts homes and very well situated right in the middle of the city. It seemed to be the best of everything I was looking for. Shopping, coffee shops, and yes even a bit of entertainment and access to transportation. She had many of the qualities of my previous love, with her commanding view over the street, open light spaces and even the possibility to expand a bit. She was also totally redone, dressed to date and even marry after the first kiss! She is all brick, solidly built but graceful, refined and well breed with just a bit of that sexy slut thrown in. She sports a lovely modern kitchen, great bathrooms and even a charming breakfast nook with all the old original built in cabinets and paneling. Simply lovely! She had a heftier price tag as well but sat only one block off the Belt-line access. The neighbors are quite, and keep good care of their homes. She seems like a great long term investment and yes I could be very happy with her. She's still within my financial target range and affordable though I would still like to be a fair bit lower in my obligations each month. She isn't as spacious as my previous love interest and she doesn't hold the financial possibilities the other does but she is in far better shape! She is also less of a prima-donna and requires less maintenance and attention.

This charming brick bungalow was built in 1920 and sits in the charming WestView Neighborhood. Originally asking 125K, things are looking more affordable and true love is setting in. Ain't she sexy!

I love this style house with the carriage porch, sitting high above the street which is quite and less traveled. The only thing this house needs is some low maintenance landscaping and a privacy gate across the drive to keep unwelcome visitors away. The front yard will be planted in shrubs sporting thorns, just to keep the curious away! Step into my garden uninvited and it will get evil on yoo ass!

There is a great porch to sit out on to catch the afternoon breeze. The all brick face makes her a very low maintenance lover which I need at this point in my life. After all I want to put paint on canvases and make some art, not paint a house!

So here I am, trying to make up my mind! Over time both have made significant advances toward me, prices have been lowered, paperwork has been completed, attorneys have approved the final sales and all seems to be ready to move forward with either. Hard choices have to be made, and they are mine to make! Who will it be? Who will win my true love!

Well I guess you'll have to stay tuned! Things are going to start moving a lot faster over the next few weeks. There is much to do but let me assure you that which ever one I choose, I'll be very happy and would have never dreamed that I would have been so lucky to have called either mine! I'm going to let you know right now, I'm going to do everything I can to encourage all of you to look for a great place just like these on the West End of Atlanta. It's a transitional area,
true, and the sooner I get your creative butts over there with mine the quicker we make it one of the coolest areas of the South to live in! The City, bless their little pea picking hearts has other plans of coarse. They will try and steer you into one of their buddies luxury condos or some nonsense. The fact is that they are selling whole lots of these homes to developers who will mow them down and put up crap housing that no one wants to live in. That's why the city is making the effort to bail their butts out with all this grant money. Politics as you may have guessed!
What I would like to find is a core group of people committed to bringing these homes, neighborhoods and creative culture and flavor back to this city. We have the talent, we now have the resources (money) and even better if its not our own and with a bit of determination and vision we can make this a much better place to live! Maybe I'll run for office, that would scare the shit out of them, a white boy from the West End! How crazy is that!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

2010 Artful Garen Tour, Calling Artist to participate!

The basics are as follows: The artful garden tour is sponsored by the High Museum of Art and Art Partners each year. About 500 to 1500 people tour some of the finest gardens in all of the Atlanta area. I've participated in this event for the past 4 years and have always enjoyed the experience. The tour will take place in 6 different gardens this year in the north west side of the city. Most of the properties are large in scale and will afford each artist ample opportunities to show their work.


The work displayed will be in the nature of sculpture, pottery and other 3 dimensional work that would be safe placing outside in the environment. Installation for the work can take place the morning of, or several days before the event and each artist will arrange time to un -install their work with the gardens owner. Once assigned to a specific garden I will be happy to give each artist contact information for the owners so they can arrange a time to view the site, or make arrangements to install their work. Please look over the following information and view the provided photos to get an idea of the types of locations available. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any further questions. I'll be happy to assist you! You will be provided tickets to go on the tour and I'd encourage you to do so.


Please contact me and I'll be happy to assign you a garden. I'm trying to place at least 3 and up to 6 painters at each location. You should arrive about 9am if your painting in the morning or around 1pm if your painting in the afternoon. The event last from 10am till 5pm rain or shine! So please plan your day accordingly. You could paint all day if you wish or take the tour and just paint half a day. If you have a preference please let me know and I'll schedule you where and when you wish as best I can. This is a great opportunity to meet the art loving public, so bring up to four of your finished and framed works and lots of cards and promotional materials. For those of you who have participated before I feel this will be the best year yet as the gardens are fabulous and you'll be given the opportunity to get around and see the gardens and meet some of the other participating artists.

Locations: There are six wonderful locations on this tour, please see the attached brochure for a map and garden description!

1. The Garden of Dr. Joel and Toni Adler

2677 Ridge Valley Road
ta, GA 30327

There is something blooming year-round in this appealing garden, which features remarkable outdoor sculptures and rare plantings throughout. The charming patio with pergola outside the rear door is the perfect setting for viewing the beautiful fountain and the small reflecting pool. Here visitors are also greeted by Art the scarecrow, who oversees the large fenced vegetable and herb garden. The lush lawn area is circled by abundant woodland plants such as hellebore,
hosta, and fragrant Daphne. A casual pathway leads along perennial beds to the back of the garden and a large, white marble contemporary sculpture. The rear garden also features charming trellises, arbors, and flowering containers. Not to be missed is the whimsical sculpture garden in the front of the home, where a giant wind chime hangs over the large central winter hazel plant.

2. The Garden of Edward and Claudia Leinss
2649 West Wesley Road
Atlanta, GA 30327

This garden is making its debut on this year’s tour. Alec Michaelides of Land Plus and Cla Allgood of Allgood Outdoors collaborated on this spectacular hardscape design that incorporates a terraced back yard employing a variety of stone patios, stairs, and walkways, and three waterfalls fed by more than 150 feet of flowing water. Marcia Weber of Gardens to Love was instrumental in selecting the plantings to enhance the architectural design. Numerous azaleas,
japonica, and rhododendrons and the sound of trickling water greet visitors to this expansive garden throughout which large planters and fabulous sculptures can be found. This peaceful setting can be best enjoyed from a bench placed midway along the gentle pathway to the top. A romantic, screened summer house occupies one of the top terraces, and a playground and basketball court can be found at the very top of the property. The large stone patio outside the back door is perfect for cocktails or brunch, while the large patio near the top of the property is an ideal spot for family cookouts. The latter space is the only garden element remaining from the original home and includes a large outdoor fireplace and grill.

3. The Garden of John and Marty Gillin
4645 Harris Trail

Atlanta, GA 30327

These homeowners and designer Dan Cleveland have created a special “mountain retreat within the city” using native woodland plants, water features, wooden structures, and secluded spaces. A charming ivy garland draped across the brick wall and an elegant driveway created by Randall White of RTW Concrete greet visitors to the front of this French-style home. At the left rear corner of the home, a small parterre garden with a honeycomb boxwood maze creates a serene, private spot for guests. The central feature of the garden is a fabulous stone waterfall cascading from twenty-five feet above the expansive flagstone patio, just outside the sunroom. A large Japanese maple provides a natural canopy for dining. Rustic black-locust handrails, made by Buzz Stone of The Rustic Garden, lead visitors safely up the curving, moss-covered, stone trail to the top of the waterfall. A thoughtfully located bench provides the perfect spot for the homeowners to escape from city life and enjoy the wildlife and serenity of the upper garden. To the right side of the home, intricate wrought iron gates open toward the guest house and into another formal boxwood garden. The impressive arbor flanked by tall birch trees is just the spot to stop and admire the large urns exploding with trailing roses.

4. The Garden of Robin and Marc Pollack

5225 Long Island Drive
Atlanta, GA 30327

This expansive property covers three acres of natural topography and sits on a sixty-foot-deep private lake. Follow the eight different paths through the orchard, woodlands, vineyard, and terraced gardens and discover many delightful garden features. The orchard produces figs, apples, and pears in the summer. Primitive constructions made from trees cleared from the property create inviting outdoor rooms; bridges, paths, and old stone walls form an outdoor amphitheatre along the dry creek bed. Camellias and Japanese maples add to the Zen feeling of the koi pond created by Atlanta Water Gardens that is nestled in the center of the home. The outdoor sculpture garden contains many ceramic pieces created by the homeowner, a local artist and instructor, along with a brightly painted steel bench, a birdbath sculpture, a butterfly house, and a primitive scalemodel birdhouse of the home. A fifty-year-old grapevine swing and masses of white azaleas await the casual stroller in the vineyard. Rustic seating overlooks the lake and a mature ginko tree. Situated on the lake are a charming boathouse and a bird estuary that attracts many local species. A lakefed irrigation system is used throughout the property.

5. Garden of Ryan and Debbie Lieberman

3897 Powers Ferry Road
Atlanta, GA 30327

Behind their 1948 stucco home, the Liebermans and David McMullen of New Moon Gardens have created the ultimate playful garden, with a spot perfect for any season and any time of day. Never before on tour to the public, this exciting contemporary design incorporates flowering trees, masses of hydrangeas, and fatsia japonica along with interesting garden structures that maximize the flexibility and use of the space. Visitors to the home are greeted with an expanse of white hydrangeas. In the back of the home, a contemporary square firepit on the pea gravel patio provides a perfect vantage point for the entire garden space and provides an inviting setting for gatherings on chilly mornings and evenings. The side deck features a large year-round container garden overflowing with ferns and vines. The steps from the deck and patio lead down to a lush lawn and back up to a terraced garden, which includes a charming pergola, ideal for outdoor dining. On the right side of the property, an architecturally distinctive wooden bridge connects the patio with the back pergola and creates the support for swings constructed under the bridge. A pea gravel surface provides for soft landings in the children’s play area.

6. The Garden of William and Jean Astrop
205 Blackland Road
Atlanta, GA 30342

The 1938 English Regency home of the Astrops was designed by Philip Trammell Shutze, renowned classical architect who also designed the Swan House. These spectacular grounds have evolved over the years without a master plan.

The wandering trails, exceptional gardens, and structures came about as a result of footpaths linking neighboring homes, acts of nature, imaginative landscaping solutions, and inspired homeowners and their guests. Today the grounds include original plantings of large English boxwoods in the front of the home; a formal rear garden with a lovely urn fountain, designed by Charles Jones of Monroe Landscaping; and a small formal garden with a birdbath, designed by Ray Padgett around large lion-head urns as well as a charming garden house.

The vast lawn area in the rear provides room for fun and games or just strolling. One of the most spectacular elements is the abundant use of hydrangeas—185 are used throughout the garden. Masses of rhododendrons and azaleas, hostas, irises, tall magnolias, and colorful annual plantings complete the scene. This garden has a 6,000-gallon rainwater holding tank covered with a stamped concrete patio and arbor. The tank is part of an efficient water system designed and built by Ray Padgett and crew. Rainwater flows from gutters to the underground holding tank; from there it is recycled into the pond over multiple small waterfalls and under a bridge. The refreshed water finally enters drip lines for irrigating the garden area.