When Art and Gardening Meet

water lilies

Art and gardening are two of my favorite things…add in photography, and I have the perfect day!

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to visit, and paint an amazing garden at my friend’s private estate during the Kneeland Gallery Plein Air Event. I thought you might enjoy seeing my photos of this exceptional high altitude gardening.

flowers high altitude


Jane, the estate owner/gardener also happens to be a talented artisan.  A weaver by trade, Jane has woven a beautiful tapestry of color with perennial flowers, interesting trees, and garden sculptures with a bit of whimsy.

Before I began to paint, I wandered the extensive gardens in search of the perfect place to create on a hot August day. The grounds were filled with meandering streams that led to lily ponds amidst colorful flower beds.

garden bridge

pond flowers

garden bench ravens

High altitude or ‘alpine’ gardening can be challenging, but rewarding. The growing season is short, but the colors are extra brilliant in the bright sun where the air is clear and clean.

Jane’s large vegetable garden is fit for a queen, complete with an old wrought iron fence to keep out the local deer, elk and moose.

The entrance to the enormous greenhouse is flanked by hydrangeas and weeping birch trees.  Jane and her husband enjoy entertaining guests to candlelit dinners inside their greenhouse during the snowy winter months.


With her unique flare for detail, Jane lines the base of her outdoor table with wreaths of begonias!

garden table

While dining outside, guests can relax to the tranquil sounds of the many garden fountains…

water fountain in garden

A Deborah Butterfield horse sculpture shares the grand entrance to estate with a golf cart and mini tractor.

deborah butterfield horse

After touring the art and gardening, I finally settled upon a nice shady spot near the edge of an ornamental lily pond.

garden frogs turtles

pochade box garden

Somewhat overwhelmed by all the beautiful choices, I decided to paint an intimate scene of a water lily.

water lilies

©2012 Lori McNee "Rocky Mountain Water Lilies" 9x12

For me, this day will be a wonderful memory of summer that will help keep me warm during the  l o n g , cold, Idaho winter! I hope you enjoyed the garden tour.

**PS. Let’s meet on Twitterand on Google Plus, Pinterestand join in the fun at Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page! Please checkout my art too LoriMcNee.com, or find me on Instagram lorimcneeartist. ~Lori


  1. Karen Fisher-Alaniz January 27, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    What an amazing experience for you. And what a beautiful estate! Makes me want to work in my garden; though at 25 degrees, it wouldn’t be very much fun. ~Karen

    • Lori McNee January 28, 2013 at 11:27 am

      Yes, the garden looks pretty alluring during the middle of January! I am looking forward to flowers and green again soon too.

      Happy painting,

  2. arne hull March 23, 2014 at 6:59 am

    All of your is stunning. I can almost hear the story surrounding every painting. Fantastic composition. Lovely use of color. Each image is so unique. I find myself wanting several of your paintings to make sure I can feel closer to the nature in your area. You have been blessed with a special gift. Thank you for sharing your talent.

    • Lori McNee March 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Hello Arne! It’s fun to first meet you on Twitter and now to have you leave a comment. I really do appreciate your kind words and for taking time to comment.

      Thank you so much!
      Lori 🙂

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