On the morning of March 5, my 4-year-old and I found an extra day in our schedule that allowed us to take a holiday to Bloedel Reserve on north Bainbridge Island, an assignment I had not found time for prior. Last year, a group of a dozen professional artists formed West Sound Printmakers, and we will have our first relief print show at Bloedel Reserve May 10, 2019.
Each member visited the grounds to find inspiration to create a 9x12" relief print (carved from a flat surface like linoleum) inspired by our visit to Bloedel. The 150-acre forested garden on the water was inhabited by a couple of heirs to the timber industry until the late 1980s, when they opened it to the public. (This was the same approximate timing that my family moved off the island, so I am told I had been there as a young child.) The gardens are diverse and manicured. The buildings are ornate and opulent.
The majestic feel of this location lends much creative inspiration. After the great snow of this February, there were just enough flowers peeking into spring to create a piece I titled "Bloedel in Bloom," featuring rhododendron (I hunted down a single rhodie bloom), camellia, heather, hellebore, snowdrops. There was also witch hazel in bloom. The honeybees in the print were imagined for a later date in the spring. I am looking forward to seeing the reserve again now that further blooms will brighten the already-picturesque landscape.
When you visit Bloedel, be sure to leave enough time to meditate, draw, converse, or contemplate the intense beauty of the forest and cultivated landscape. There are ponds, Puget Sound views, mansions, Japanese architecture, zen garden, moss garden, and meadows. Please enjoy it thoroughly.
As Prentice Bloedel said, “Nature can do without man, but man cannot do without nature.”