The nature of art: Finksburg artist fills garden canvas

In the manner of “when the world gives you lemons, make lemonade,” when the garden gives Sherrill Cooper problems, she makes art.

For the 25 years she and her family have lived at this house, the Finksburg artist has treated every problem as a creative opportunity, and the result is a yard where whimsy masks the spots where nature has refused to cooperate.

A sundial hides the septic tank. A border of broken plates keeps a garden in check, and old-fashioned porcelain spigots grow in a window box where nothing else will.

Cooper is an illustrator, and most of the work she does in her studio above the garage goes out into the ether to appear on websites. Or it disappears into a faraway magazine.

Her garden installations are hers to keep.

“I never see my art again,” she says of her illustrations. “This is my way of hanging on to it. And touching it.


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